350g tank build

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350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Mon May 31, 2010 4:43 pm

It's been a long time in coming but I can finally afford to finish my 350g tank build. I start tomorrow calling around for the best price I can get on a 1/2" piece of clear tempered glass. I should be able to keep it under $200.00 .

I started this project almost 5 years ago when the job market was much better. All the pieces were gathered and built as the extra money I had at the time would allow.... and now I can finally afford the glass. Every thing is ready including the lighting, filters, pumps, heaters.......etc. The glass and the silicone to install it should be my last investment.

This is how it looked for a long time.



My son who was 4 at the time this picture was taken felt sorry for me because I couldn't finish my tank and decided it needed some fish.... so he donated his bath toys to make me feel better.




This was the first day of the project.



That's all for now. I'm cooking a Memorial day turkey for dinner. Very Happy
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by bulldogg7 on Mon May 31, 2010 4:59 pm

Gonna be nice to finally see this monster up and running bom
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by theswede on Mon May 31, 2010 6:30 pm

That´s sweet iceblue! A tank that size would be a dream. Hope you post alot of pics along the way.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by Aura on Mon May 31, 2010 7:30 pm

Really happy for you Norm; that you can get this project going again! I think it will be worth the wait!!
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Mon May 31, 2010 9:31 pm

Really cool Norm, glad to hear this project is back in operation. There are so many possiblities for this tank, it'll be interesting to see how you decide to set it up and stock it. I'm not 100% sure what I would stock it with, there's just to many options.

Looking forward to seeing this up and running, good luck buddy Wink

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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Mon May 31, 2010 10:29 pm

Thanks guys.

Hakan. The only pics I have left of it I had posted to Photobucket before my computer crashed. I used to have a lot more and allthough I know my wife backed up a lot of our photos I haven't taken the time to search out whether my pics are among them. All in all there are enough in photobucket to give you a good idea how the build went because I had started a thread in another forum to show my build but it went bye bye. Many of us used to be members there. Do you remember the name of that Forum Jeff ? scratch

Anyways, here are more pics.

Phase 1. I started with 3/4" exterior plywood and kiln dried 2" x 4" x 8' studs.

These are the bottom sills for the tank. They've been chamfered and have a 3/4" plow to except the sides of the aquarium.



Next the bottom sill was glued, clamped and screwed to the bottom of the aquarium. All the plywood for this project was cut to give me an inside dimension of 84" wide, 30" deep and 32" high.



The next step was putting the sides into the plow of the bottom sill and screwing them together. Through-out the project I used various length corrosion resistant deck screws. The sides are screwed through the bottom of the tank and through the sides of the sill. With screw coming from two different directions I doubt a crane could pull them out.



With the sides in place I put a top sill over the whole thing. They have a plow just like the bottom sill but I didn't chamfer it.



Ready for studs.



The sills allowed me to frame extra bracing all around the tank. Even though the sides were glued and screwed together I beefed them up with a full 2" x 4" width. (1 1/2" x 3 1/2") The rest of the studs are 1 1/2" x 1 1/2". All the outside framing was glued and screwed to the plywood from the outside.



The front of the aquarium is a full 2 x 4 frame. It has been well screwed into the rest of the framing using a technique that framers on the west coast call lock nailing. One screw is put in straight and the other goes in next to it at an angle. Very hard to pull apart.



Here is an inside view of the front. The glass itself will be glued to the 2 x 4 outside frame leaving a pretty close to flush inside front panel. No glass edge will be exposed in the tank.



At this point in the project I was ready to enjoy a beer.

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Re: 350g tank build

Post by bulldogg7 on Mon May 31, 2010 10:45 pm

The pre-amalgamated "Madhouse" dunno
I can't even find you build thread on C-F now scratch Kinda sucks they got so big they had to start deleting old threads.

What's the acrylic box on the left, wasn't it a prefilter of sorts? What's the valve for on it?
Do you still have the ping pong ball drip tray?
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by Dook on Mon May 31, 2010 11:25 pm

oh boy oh boy what I could do with a tank that size... when I get around to building a home, my living area will be centered around a monster tank such as this.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Mon May 31, 2010 11:53 pm

Oh, that's right. it was kind of maddening. Should have seen the amalgamation coming.bangin

The acrylic box in the first picture at the beginning of the thread is the mechanical filter. There is one on each side of the tank. This gave me more head room under the stand to build a taller sump and most importantly, I don't have to bend over or get down on my hands and knees to change the filter batting.

The valve on it and the standpipe coming off the top of the tank are used to control the airflow from the tank overflows to the mechanical filter and from the mech. filter to the sump. They both are kind of a modified Durso set-up. I'll have more info on these as the thread progresses through the build.\

Dook wrote.
my living area will be centered around a monster tank such as this.

Careful what you wish for. LOL This started out as just a simple tank build but it kept changing and growing.......and changing and growing. New Ideas replacing old ones, tear this apart to build that and so on and so on........until it became a monster. Twisted Evil
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by theswede on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:15 pm

I remember these shots from the MM site. Love the depth of this tank. One of this days I will build me a marinplywood tank. Also some stone filter modules out of styrofoam and concrete. So will this tank become a malwi or tang setup?
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:50 pm

theswede wrote: So will this tank become a malwi or tang setup?

It will definitely be a Malawi. Sorry Klaus. ponder

The entire time i have been building this project it has always been geared towards Mbuna. It may also have a couple of Haps and possibly some Peacocks if I can find species that will stand up to the Mbuna. Probably the most aggressive ones in the tank will be the "mainganos". They will will represent the Melanochromis species for the aquarium.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:36 pm

Man, does it pay to call around.

For a piece of 1/2" tempered glass 26 1/4" x 77 1/4" I got prices that varied between $325.00 without tax to $150.00 with tax. You can guess who's getting my business. For a $150.00 I may pay the extra $25.00 to have it delivered so I don't have to handle it that much.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:05 pm

Wow, that's quite a difference!!!

Great choice on the "maingano's", always been one of my favorite mbuna. I came real close to getting them several years ago but opted for the johanni for the yellow females. I always wondered what it would have looked like with 8 of the "maingano's" in there instead. (Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos = "maingano")

I thought about suggesting a monster tropheus colony for the tank... but I knew you weren't budging Wink

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Re: 350g tank build

Post by theswede on Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:53 pm

The M. cyaneorhabdos is a great choise. Both male and female looks great. Copadichromis borleyi "red fin" is a species that I can recommend together with mbuna. My small females has been bullied by my big greshakei male since I put them in there and they have taken no harm at all. They are very tough and fast. A Peacock that seem to work very well with mbuna is the Aulonocara sp. "stuartgranti maleri". I have four of them myself together with mbuna in my 66 gallon. I´ve read that the A. jacobfreiberi are the toughest of the Peacocks, but I´ve never had them myself.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:08 am

That's great information Hakan. I like all of those species. I was also thinking of adding a few C. moorii and possibly a Phenochilus Tanzania.

After the tank was built and over the next year I smoothed and filled all the cracks and checks that appeared inside the tank due to the dry weather we have out here. I used Elmers Wood Filler and for the most part an 1 1/2" putty knife. The smaller blade allowed me to place a lot of pressure to the wood insuring that everything got well filled. I filled and sanded it a total of 3 times and had a very smooth surface on which to apply the epoxy.



As you can see in this next picture I also put chamfer strips on all the inside upright corners to match the 45 degree angle of the bottom sill. My thinking behind this was that a lot of people have had problems with cracks appearing in their epoxy right at the hard 90 degree corners. Breaking that 90 degree corner into two 45 degree angles will help relieve the stress. LOL. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I've either relieved the stress or created twice the potential for cracking.



The next build was the stand but the pictures of it's construction have disappeared. It sat like this for a long time as I collected the paint, pumps, titanium heaters and other miscellaneous things I would need to run it.

I was very happy with what I had accomplished but let it sit to long. The more I studied other builds the more I wanted to add things to my tank. Up till this point it was pretty straight forward but the next time I went to work on it everything changed and got really crazy.
Moooagh...ha ...ha ...ha ...haa More to come.Twisted Evil

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Re: 350g tank build

Post by poolmako on Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:48 am

norm i was hoping to see you get this project done and then full of fish, i know it will be awesome and now you can give your son back his bath toys.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:34 pm

The bathtub fish have been removed and I'm staging the tank to install the glass. I went ahead and paid for delivery and it should be here Friday or Saturday. They'll bring it right into the house and set it on some carpeted dunnys I'll have set up. Run the silicone then lift the tank up to it and I won't even have to touch the glass. Cheap insurance for a $30.00 delivery fee. If it breaks in transit or while they set it on the dunnage they pay.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:55 pm

After a couple years I began Stage II. I decided to make my stand wider so I could put my mechanical filtration on either side of the tank and to eliminate a couple of bends in my pump discharge lines by making the sump a little wider also. I didn't get any pics of the stand build but did make these drawings. Their pretty self explanatory. The legs are 4 x 4s, the top frame is 2 x 6 lagged in place, and the rest of the framing is 2 x 4. All screws and lags were pre-drilled and counter sunk. I was able to salvage all the wood from the first stand so there wasn't a very large investment in making it bigger. The sides, top, back and bottom shelf were covered with 1/2" plywood.

Top view.


Bottom view.




I also began construction of my sump using scrap 1/2" plywood I had laying around. It's 21" deep, 112" long and 13" high inside dimensions. Rather then butting the lengths of plywood together I made generous ship-laps to avoid stress at the joint.


Simple box.


In the next step I plowed a 1" x 4" to be a top rim for the sump much the same way as I did for the tank but instead of studding it I did a "crate-style" frame with 1" x 4" going all the way around the box including the bottom. I also put a 3/4" x 3/4" drip edge all the way around the outside perimeter of the top rim. The inside of the sump was also wood puttied the same as the tank.


I also began building the hood.


The trough at the lower right hand of the picture and running the full length of the hood will be for plants to try and suck up some of the nitrates once it's cycled.


This completed the wood portion of the build. Next up 3 gallons of epoxy paint.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by Drake-tripod on Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:59 pm

to bad you didnt go 10 gallosn bigger we could have macthing tanks i jsut realized that lol
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:19 pm

My 150g capacity sump more than makes up for a 10g difference. Cool
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by bulldogg7 on Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:27 pm

You forgot the "planter" lol!
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by iceblue on Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:18 pm

yeah that Why yes I did. I went and measured it and got another 5 1/2 gallons. thumbs up
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by Aura on Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:19 pm

Wow, such nice work. It's obvious you know a little about what you're doing!

That's a nice looking piece on your work counter along the wall too.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by theswede on Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:05 pm

Great thread this ! I was kind of wondering why the hood were so big. Can´t wait for what´s coming next in this project.
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Re: 350g tank build

Post by buntbarsch on Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:28 pm

iceblue wrote:It will definitely be a Malawi. Sorry Klaus. ponder
That's alright Norm, I too kept mbuna before I discovered the real pleasures of cichlid keeping. lol!

Your handy work though is pretty amazing. That is one heck of a tank. thumbs up

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