This blog chronicles the building of a custom 300 gallon saltwater tank in our customer's basement project. If you have any questions about the project, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Project Summary: This 300 gallon tank project will take place at the same time as the entire basement is being finished. The aquarium will include a solid cherry stand and canopy custom built by Classical Services in Washington, Missouri. Along with the aquarium, matching custom cherry bookcases will serve to form a wall divider. The bookcases will also be designed to hide the tank plumbing, electrical and floor supports.
Nov. 19, 2010
The project begins to take shape after planning the aquarium size, placement and insuring a way to bring the aquarium into the basement weeks in advance.
The frame of the custom cherry stand is in place so the aquarium can be delivered. You can see the electrical and plumbing running down the right floor support. This will eventually be hidden in the bookcases.
A closer view of the plumbing. The system includes a drain running through the bottom of the stand into the floor for fast and easy water changes. The plumbing running down the floor support will hook to the RO/DI system mounted inside the stand. There will be an auto top off in the sump. The white PVC will run the tank water back and forth to a chiller in another part of the basement.
The 700 pound, 8 foot long tank was made by Glass Cages. It includes custom overflows on each end of the tank to avoid obstructing the view through the tank.
The guys from Bond Moving begin by using the truck lift gate to get the aquarium to the ground. They lift the aquarium off the ground as little as possible as they go across the yard. The big challenge is getting the aquarium through the hole cut in the side of the house just for this project. Eventually the opening will become a window.
The aquarium is on the stand and now we can begin measuring for the acrylic sump.
Look for updates in a few days with photos of the ultra premium live rock coming in from Fiji.
Nov. 24, 2010
Today the JBJ 1/3hp chiller and two Tunze Stream 6125 powerheads arrived.
The most exciting arrival of the day was 250 pounds of ultra premium Fiji live rock. The rock has great color and no odor at all. This is amazing since it was shipped from Fiji to us without the boxes ever having been opened in between. Hopefully it will not take very long to cure.
In the next two weeks the custom built acrylic sump arrives from Glass Cages. Then we will begin some of the plumbing work.
Dec. 10, 2010
It has been a busy week ordering equipment for this new system. On the way is everything from live sand to RO/DI systems and much more.
The live rock is curing nicely and looks to be ready in plenty of time to go into the tank.
We can't wait to see how the overall basement build is going. Hopefully it is ready for us to begin the tank and chiller plumbing.
Dec. 11, 2010
Right on cue the Glass Cages acrylic sump has arrived. This is one of the best made acrylic sumps I have seen.
We are ready to get started on the next phases of the project!
Dec. 16, 2010
Here is a before and after that illustrates just how far the basement has come.
This is a good view of the plumbing and electrical lines that will be hidden by the book case bookends.
Week of Dec. 20
We've worked hard this week to get the aquarium plumbing complete, water filled and cabinetry complete all for a Christmas Eve gathering.
We have the Blueline pumps for the return and the chiller/water change plumbed in to the sump inside the cabinet. One of two RO/DI systems is installed as a sump top off. The RO waste water drains into the same drain that will be used for water changes.
The other RO/DI is hooked up in the utility room to a top off on a 55 gallon drum for saltwater water changes. The water changes will be done from the barrel in the utility room through the same plumbing used for the chiller.
Now that the plumbing is complete we can begin to fill the system with water. We are using a combination of freshly mixed saltwater and "cured" saltwater from an established system. Combined with the cured rock we will be good to begin adding livestock pretty quickly.
It takes wll over 300 gallons of water to fill this system. The aquarium, sump and plumbing add up to close to 400 gallons even with the live rock. Once the system is full we will make sure that there are not leaks, the pumps work as planned and then the live rock gets added and the cabinetry is completed.
The water is full and the live rock has gone in the tank. Water parameters are still perfect. The cabinets are now complete.
The cherry cabinets are beautiful. A ventilation hole has been cut into the side of the bookcase so fans can vent the lighting.
Temporary lights are over the tank until the new Hamilton fixtures arrive next week. There will be two three foot fixtures that include 2 250 watt metal halides, 2 T-5 supplemental lights and LED moon lights. These will allow us to have any kind of coral in the future.
The rock has been stacked in islands with the center of the aquarium left open. This allows for a lot of swimming room for fish and for viewing from both sides of the wall. Just added to the center of the aquarium is a basketball-sized aquacultured neon green finger leather.
Week of Dec. 27
The system is running great. The water is still testing perfect and the new lighting have arrived.
We have added a pair of captive bred orange ocellaris clownfish. They were hatched and raised here in St. Louis by Kathy's Clowns. Between the return pump and the two Tunze powerheads there is a lot of water movement. The clowns are enjoying surfing the flow from one end of the 8 foot tank to the other.
Some life is beginning to pop out on the rock. Despite being in a box for over week while travelling form Fiji to St. Louis, some coral polyps and some worms are appearing.
Several pajama cardinals and a couple more corals coming next week.
The plan right now is to keep LPS and soft corals in this tank. But the lighting will allow us to have SPS should the owners want to make that transition in the future.
This system is as low maintenance as we can make it. The fish are fed through an autofeeder, the lighting is all on timers, evaporated water is continuously replaced with the auto top-off and the water changes will be done in minutes through turning a couple of valves.