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Old 06-16-2008, 11:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

Last year I moved from Utah to Alaska. My 75 gallon tank has sat empty since the move, waiting for me to finish a few DIY projects on it. Since my tank and stand are empty I figure it’s a good time to take pictures of some of the DIY projects I have done over the years as well as what I’ve been working on lately. If someone can get some good ideas from what I have done then it is worth the effort. It also may inspire me to finally finish my projects and get this tank running again.

To start off I thought I would show you my stand. It’s the first project I started on this setup. I originally planed this stand for a 90 gallon tank that I was going to build from acrylic. But I later found a 75 gallon at a steal ($25) and bought it to save money. This means that my stand is a little bit bigger than my tank in the back. The extra space proved to be very useful in my next project of building a canopy – more to come on that later.



The stand is pulled away from the wall so I can work in the back of it. It isn’t normally on an angle in the room like this.




This project took me a long time to make since I was a student and living in an apartment when I made it. I had to take it out on the porch every time I wanted to work on it. The design is basic, like others we have seen here. The frame is made from 2x4’s and wrapped in plywood with an oak finish. I used two different router bits to get the fancy edge on the molding. The molding on both the stand, and later you will see on the canopy, is made to cover the plastic rim of the aquarium (my aquarium is the basic glass type with a 2”wide plastic rim on the top and bottom that are so common). That way you only see the nice oak trim of the stand, while the not so nice looking plastic is hidden behind it. I am really pleased with how this stand turned out. I think at some point I will add small oak corner pieces to hide the poor silicone job and make the tank look all framed in.


Close-up of the moulding that hides the plastic rim.
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

When I bought an old, used 120 gallon tank back in the 90's I did that trick of using corner moldings to cover the ugly glass corners of the tank. I cut 1/8" thick strips of the wood the stand and hood were made of, glued them into corner pieces, then used dabs of silicone to stick them to the tank corners. All of the wood was stained the same, so it looked great. Go ahead and do that - you will never regret it.
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Old 06-17-2008, 08:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

Thanks for the input Hoppy. 1/8” seems kind of thin though, is that a typo? I was thinking of using the same size as I have on the front corners of the stand. I think they are 1/2”. Even that size probably won’t cover all of the silicon, but it will hide most of it. The problem will be matching the stain. As you noted it looks real nice when everything matches. I remember the brand I used just not the color. I guess I will have to do a little trial and error with some scrap wood.

Edit: Never mind Hoppy, I think I understand now. The strips you cut were from a 1/8” board or sheet and you would have cut them wide enough to cover the corner. I thought you were referring to the width of your cut not the thickness of the board.

Last edited by sonaps; 06-17-2008 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

That's a nice looking stand you made, well done with the stain too.
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

Thanks orlando, I like the way the stain turned out too. The Finish really is what made it look nice though. I chose to use Minwax’s brand of Helmsman Spar Urethane which is used to protect outdoor furniture. I figured that way it wouldn’t matter how much water I splashed on it. I’m glad I went with that finish. It really brought the red out. I used the same stain on the inside of the door, but I ran out of the Spar Urethane, so you can see the difference in color between the finished and unfinished wood. I think it gives it a nice shine too.
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonaps View Post
Thanks for the input Hoppy. 1/8” seems kind of thin though, is that a typo? I was thinking of using the same size as I have on the front corners of the stand. I think they are 1/2”. Even that size probably won’t cover all of the silicon, but it will hide most of it. The problem will be matching the stain. As you noted it looks real nice when everything matches. I remember the brand I used just not the color. I guess I will have to do a little trial and error with some scrap wood.

Edit: Never mind Hoppy, I think I understand now. The strips you cut were from a 1/8” board or sheet and you would have cut them wide enough to cover the corner. I thought you were referring to the width of your cut not the thickness of the board.
Actually, I used a table saw to rip 1/8" thick pieces off of a 3/4" thick board. So my corner pieces were about 3/4" by 3/4", and they just barely did cover the ugly corners, but they did cover them. If you are like me you never throw away anything, so I had the now empty can of stain I previously used and that gave me the color information I needed. (I think I still have it somewhere in the garage!)
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

Yeah, I’d kept my can of stain too. I think it even had stain left in it. But the moving companies won’t move paint cans, and the like, even if they are empty (or CO2 tanks for that matter). So I had to leave that stuff behind. I was too busy with the move to think about writing the information down.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

For the lighting in this setup I wanted something that would fit in the canopy I was planning to make (limited space lengthwise) and I wanted to use fluorescent T12 lights, since I already had a fixture with 2 ballasts and 4 pair of end caps. The lighting from 4 T12 bulbs worked well, I was able to grow glosso that clung to and covered the substrate (until it got too full and started growing up with gusto).

I made my fixture out of the aluminum that is used in siding (my brother works in siding and gets this stuff in rolls). He just cut me a section, snipped the corners and bent the sides up using a 2x4 as a straight edge to aid the bending. The inside of the aluminum was already painted white. I had originally planned on adding curved reflectors behind each light, but this has actually worked great so I never bothered going back and adding them. I bought a piece of aluminum rod at home depot and cut two pieces to fit across the fixture for support and to hold the fluorescent endcaps. I took apart the fixture that I had and mounted the ballasts in the stand. The only thing left was the wiring which I originally just ran behind the stand in a big mess of wires, but I have since cleaned it up.


You can see from the picture that I was no longer in an apartment when I built this. The work area in my garage was quite an upgrade from the deck of my apartment.


Positioning end caps




This picture is of preparations for my first setup in my previous house.


My only concern with this fixture is that condensation builds up in the fixture each morning. The light still functions great after a year and a half of use, but I think I will do something to waterproof the end caps. The lights are grounded and I use a GFCI outlet but I would feel better if I knew there were no exposed connections.

I’m thinking about adding two more bulbs before I set this tank up again. Like I mentioned earlier four bulbs did a pretty good job, but I think six bulbs will make growing certain plants easier.
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

How are you going to close the corners? You could use small aluminum angles and epoxy them in place. It looks very good now, but would look even better with the corners closed.
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Journal of 75 Gallon DIY Projects (Lots of Pictures)

very nice job on the tank, couldn't you add some vents and maybe a small computer fan to help with the condensation? and the corners could use some help as Hoppy said. Gerry
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