DIY - Projects & Ideas • 200 Gallon Aquarium Cichlid Heaven / HeII Build

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200 Gallon Aquarium Cichlid Heaven / HeII Build

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 1:34 pm

I purchased a used 200 gallon Perfecto 84" x 24" x 24" with an Oak stand and Canapy with a few other extras from Craigs list. Man was it dirty when it arrived. I will be posting pictures of my progress in setting up this tank. I also have a unique idea for the backdrop for the Cichlids which is where the Heaven / #%$& ties it. More on that later.
Last edited by Agridion on Fri May 20, 2011 2:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby iwade4fish » Fri May 20, 2011 1:47 pm

waiting with bells on!
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I am new to this and I didn't know you can't type HeII

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 1:49 pm

A picture of my tank as my roomate and I are cleaning it out. He is sucking out all of the dirt from the bottom of the tank. I checked for cracks and to make sure the primary seal is intact for the aquarium. All good exept for the ulgy water marks on back of the tank.
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Here are what the Marks on the outside of the back of my tank look like. The previous owner had a platic backdrop and what ever was in his tank got between the glass and the plastic and left these marks. I am not sure if the glass etching was from the marks or the previous owner trying to remove the marks. Either way CLR, vinager and a razor blade does nothing. Gong to resort to something stronger.
Image
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Removing the water marks.

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 1:55 pm

FYI I purchased the tank on May 6th so I will catch you all up to speed. After doing a ton of research on how to buff out glass I resorted to ordering 99.99% pure Curium Oxide. In the mean time I had to use something a bit ruffer to get the marks out. After 10 hours of sanding with silicon carbide sandpaper 320 grit then 400 grit, then 600 grit. I was pretty warn out.

Curium Oxide
http://www.facetshoppe.com/cart/cerium_oxide_pure.html


around 10 hours of sanding. What a pain in the rear. The etched in parts are out but now its all ruffed up. At this point this picture only shows the product after using 320 grit sandpaer. The glass is foggy but the marks are out.
Image
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secondary seals

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 2:11 pm

I noticed as I was sanding for hours on end that the secondary seals were shot on all of the vertical corners. The bottom seal looked good. The previous owner was a construction worker, sloppy with his work and he decided to cauk the top 1" of the glass to the top bracket to prevent water from leaking out from under the platic top.

I decided to remove all of the secondary seals. I appologize that I don't have more pictures of this process but you can find all sorts of good exampls of this online. I did a ton of reasearch as to what type of silicone to use and I ended up going with "momentive rtv 108" from Grainger.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/GENERAL-ELECTRIC-Clear-Silicone-4UH12

After spending several hours carefully cutting out the silicione and scraping it to the glass. I decided I wanted to buff out the front glass before I resilicioned the tank. Thank goodness the Cerium Oxide came in so I decided to put it to the test. I used my hand drill with a buffing attachment.
http://www.dewalt.com/tools/polisher-attachments-dw4990.aspx

I picked up piece of thick touch leather and cut it to the size of the buffer. Melted pure bee's wax and let the leather disk pad soak up as much bees wax as I could. As it was still hot and the bee's wax was melted I covered the leather pad with Cerium Oxide. The idea is to get the cerium oxide to stick to the Pad.

Before Sanding. When looking though the glass I could see a kind of fog on the inside of the glass. Again CLR, Vinegar, and a razor did nothing.

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After using the Cerium Oxide leather buffing pad with lots of water.
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Silicone

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 2:18 pm

Here is the tank Tapped up.
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Me inside the tank.
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Close up of taping
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I have to say that putting Silicone on a tank is much harder then it looks. Expecially when you are doing a whole tank at once. I decided to start at an end and silicone all of the end, bottom, sides, top, and then move to the middle of the tank, then do the other end. I would reccomend when silicioning a tank to Please wear a Mask and goggles. I didn't and had to hold my breath many of times as my eyes watered and I felt as if I was going to die. Also if I had to do the tank over again. I think I would have siliconed one joint at a time instead of doing it section by section. I choose to do it section by section because I heard that once silicione starts to cure/ top layer hardens the seal between the two aren't very good.

Also Paper towels are your friend. I ended up wearing thin rubber gloves and dipping my fingers into soap water before I would spread out the silicone but that still didn't help from it getting all over the place. I found out that you can never have to many paper towels when putting the secondary seal on.
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My Unique Idea for a Cichlid Back Drop

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 2:25 pm

Now I have scene many custom intank foam / rock backdrops built for tanks mainly reef tanks. I thought hey thats a great idea for a Cichlid tank. But then after thinking about it most of those back drops don't have many caves and what do all Cichlid fish love? CAVES!!!! LOL so I thought hey what if I build a built in backdrop that was nothing but caves! I wouldn't need as many hiding spots in the rest of my tank. Now keep in mind this is just an idea and I had no clue what I was getting myself into nor did I completely think through this idea as I am running into things that I could kick my self for not thinking of earler in the process.

I decided to use PVC pipes as the caves for my backdrop. I did some research online and all of the sites I read pretty much say that PVC, PVC Glue and PVC Primer are all fine in the tank if you let it dry.

Picture of a buch of PVC pipes that I cut to build up my stock.
Image
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Back Drop

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 2:38 pm

I picked up 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1-1/4", 2" and 3" PVC Pipe and I decided to cut them different lengths. My idea was to create kind of a wave patter out of the PVC Pipe that would go up against the back side of the tank. So looking directly into the tank you would see though the PVC piping to what ever I decide to put back there and when you look at from an angle you would see the sides of the PVC piping. This would give 100's of caves for different size fish. I didn't think to far ahead and decide to build one of these. I thought of building at least 4 sections so I can get them into the tank since I have 2 dividers ( supports)

Here is what I came up with for the edge of the tank. When looking at this picture the floor will actually be the back side of the tank.
Image
Last edited by Agridion on Fri May 20, 2011 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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back Drop

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 2:41 pm

Here is a slightly different angle.

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You can see I already was impatient so I began gluing the PVC together. The purple is so ugly but I don't know how I am going to get rid of the purple. I am thinking of coating it with someting and then putting sand on it but I am not sure how well that will work since there will be 100's of pipes and small nooks and crannies.

Here is a top view of it or if it were in the aquarium if you were to look into the aquarium.

Image
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back drop

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 2:45 pm

I recruited my wife and she helped design the start of my second back drop pannel. I have to say I like her design better then mine.

Side angle view
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Front view
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Here is a veiw with them both.
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Back Drop

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 2:53 pm

Last night I ran across a problem with my PVC back drop idea. Currently when I put the piece into my tank the PVC goes all the way to the glass. I fear that the fish will not like going into the pipes if they can't turn around being that there is only one entrance to each cave and the diameter is the same all the way to the back. So I decide to use my router to cut out notches in the back side linking some pipes to each other. I'll have take some more pictures of these when I get home tonight. When building these backdrops I should have made some hollow spots by not allowing all of the PVC to rest against the ground when gluing. This would have been 10 times easier and would have turned out much cleaner then having to router out parts of the PVC.

Do you all think that I should just let the PVC go all the way to the glass or should I cut back tunnels connecting the PVC to each other by the glass wall?

Also how should I coat the PVC or should I just leave it in its unfinished form white and purple?
Last edited by Agridion on Fri May 20, 2011 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Supporting the Tank

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 3:03 pm

More on the Back drop to come. I will take a few pictures tonight of where I am at now. I wish I would have designed caves with in those PVC tubes instead of having them all be flush with the ground.... I am kicking myself as that was easily 3 days worth of work just making the first 20" x 20" section and a whole can of PVC glue.

Man I am glad I had a mask for gluing the PVC together.

I decided to check to see if I need to reinforce my floor trusses before I fill up my tank. The water in a 200 gallon tank weights roughly 1,660 pounds and when you count in the stand, tank, canopy and etc you are easily over 2,000 pounds. I am putting this tank next to an outside wall close to the wall and across 5 floor trusses so I already know that this will put most of weight at the wall and remove
most of the bending moment.

Picture of my basement's beams
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I talked to a few people from my work. (Engineers; and we came up with this calculation.)

Image

With my tank adding 1/2 of the maximum moment the truss was designed for at 2' 6" from the wall I decided I should look into reinforcing the trusses just to be safe and not have to worry about it in the back of my mind. At our work it's safety first.
Last edited by Agridion on Fri May 20, 2011 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Floor Trusses

Postby Agridion » Fri May 20, 2011 3:26 pm

Well Today (I called them on Wednesday) I finally heard back from the manufacture of my floor trusses. Jeez was it a job tracking down who designed my 11 year old floor trusses. They told me to use 3/4" CDX plywood and cut out 16" x 4' sections and glue and screw these to both sides of my trusses for all 5 trusses. They recommend 4' O.C. spacing using 2.5" screws and if I could to screw a few into the diagonal cross sectional beams. They also recommend to use a construction grade glue to glue these to the trusses as well as to screw them in. Pictures to follow when I actually get around to this. There are a few pieces of conduit and my air conditioner line that i will have to cut out for. Always something to make the job harder.
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Postby cantrell00 » Fri May 20, 2011 3:29 pm

I purchased a used 200 gallon Perfecto 84" x 24" x 24"


Isn't that larger than 200 gallons? My 180 is 72 X 24 X 24.

Is 2 X 2 X 2 more than 20 gallons? Just curious... Maybe you are right..

Not sure if I am entirely following the PVC pipe backdrop.. It certainly looks interesting...

As for the floor supports - if in doubt reinforce!

I look forward to following this one. What are you stocking it with?
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Postby comanswoodwork » Fri May 20, 2011 3:38 pm

84x24x24 is 209 gallons. That is the physical outside volume. Subtract 1 inch in each dimension to account for glass thickness and you drop to 190 gallons. Amazing how much 1 inch means.
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