Brent's Cube

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I've been really keen to start a new tank since shutting my last (also my first) in 2013. I loved the tank but in hindsight, I was very rushed in most aspects. I made a lot of mistakes and payed a fair amount of school fees. Nevertheless, I managed to keep the mixed reef tank alive for two years or so. Unfortunately it was just too big for my life and wallet, and eventually I had to shut it down.
Six odd years later with research, maturity, and some extra cash burning a hole in my pocket... I think it's time to start again!

My aim for this tank is to work within my means, i.e. budget and maintenance time. This severely reduced the size of my tank to a nano, as I don't have funds for outlay or running costs of a big tank. After a few brief calculations I set my sights on a light and skimmer that wouldn't break the bank, and sized my tank accordingly. I also calculated projected running costs (salt, water, electricity etc.) and came up with a measly 30 to 50 liter display. The best thing about this tank is that if I do weekly changes of ~10L, I'll be doing a 20% water change, which works out to be about R26 per water change in salt (Coral reef pro).

So I took the leap and started designing! After a few iterations, I came up with a tank that suited my means. Most of the hardware is DIY

Tank: 40L x 40W x 30H Total volume 38 Liters (taking all internal baffles in to account for water displacement).
10mm base and back pane (to withstand sharp edges of LR on base and flexing of light fitting clamp on back pane), 8mm front and sides in optiwhite (starfire/low iron) with polished edges.

Lights: Zetlight 1201 WIFI

Skimmer: Bubble Magus QQ2

Flow: Jebao OW4 (possibly two)

Still need to get a DC flow pump (looking at a max of 2000L/Hr)


Photo's t follow!
 
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After all the spreadsheets and calculations, I started by welding up a frame for my wall mounted tank. A couple of burns later and I had a working frame, able to easily carry the tanks weight X 10 (or maybe not, who knows). I didn't bother getting the frame galvanized, and this may come back to bight me in the future.... I'll just have to keep an eye out on how the etch primer is doing....
 
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Next up, I had to cover up the frame. I really didn't want to continue the look of my previous tank where I would be happy to have water on the floor and cables and slat creep everywhere. This time I wanted a neat minimalist look. Besides, with a young child, I want our flat to be completely child safe...

I'm no carpenter, so I kept all the joinery very simple and used pre-laminated pine... A quick check to see that the box fits the frame....
And time to finish it off.
I just used cheap old gripseal to seal the pine. I like the fact that it is user friendly (no harsh chemical solvents, just water) and it doesn't change the colour of the wood too much. Pine usually goes yellow when using urethane varnishes, which I personally don't like.
More Photo's tomorrow!
 
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Looks good bud.

Just give that Pine about 6 coats- that laminate stuff loves to buckle and warp any where near water. Its a pain to do so many coats but its the only way. I built a box like that around my RO unit, was out doors but with rain and sun it was tired after 6 months.
 

RiaanP

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That woodwork looks great.
 
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What kind of fixings did you use to secure the frame to the wall? That would be a point of concern for me.
 
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Love the woodwork bud...

And I'm also Jealous of your location. Nothing better than the sea when you wake up...
 
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Looks good bud.

Just give that Pine about 6 coats- that laminate stuff loves to buckle and warp any where near water. Its a pain to do so many coats but its the only way. I built a box like that around my RO unit, was out doors but with rain and sun it was tired after 6 months.
Hey Adrian, thanks so much, I've done five coats so far, but after your experience I'll definitely do another two or three coats to be safe!

What kind of fixings did you use to secure the frame to the wall? That would be a point of concern for me.
Thanks for the concern! I have six Eureka M8 expansion bolts going into the wall (four on the top, and two at the bottom). Each bolt should be rated at around 9kN (Kilonewtons) shear or 6kN tensile. This is approximately 900kgs of shear weight per bolt. That equates to 5.4 tonnes shear weight total for the six bolts. I think the Steel will buckle before it breaks free from the wall. The tank and contents of the drawer/cupboard should be under 60kgs maximum. I stood on the frame to check that it would seat properly against the wall and it was very solid. So provided my dodgy calculations are correct, I should have a safety factor of somewhere around 90 X... Please let me know if you think my calculations are wrong or if I've forgotten to take something into account...

That woodwork looks great.
Thanks Riaan!
 
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Love the woodwork bud...

And I'm also Jealous of your location. Nothing better than the sea when you wake up...
Thanks koganm, It's a small flat in central Amanzimtoti. I've grown up in 'toti and spend most of my time in the sea, so it's a prerequisite that my wife and I bought a place with a seaview:m38:
 
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Thanks koganm, It's a small flat in central Amanzimtoti. I've grown up in 'toti and spend most of my time in the sea, so it's a prerequisite that my wife and I bought a place with a seaview:m38:
Would trade up the hustle and bustle of JHB for a place like that in a heartbeat, except when us vaalies come down on holiday:biggrin::m12:.
 
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Thanks for the concern! I have six Eureka M8 expansion bolts going into the wall (four on the top, and two at the bottom). Each bolt should be rated at around 9kN (Kilonewtons) shear or 6kN tensile. This is approximately 900kgs of shear weight per bolt. That equates to 5.4 tonnes shear weight total for the six bolts. I think the Steel will buckle before it breaks free from the wall. The tank and contents of the drawer/cupboard should be under 60kgs maximum. I stood on the frame to check that it would seat properly against the wall and it was very solid. So provided my dodgy calculations are correct, I should have a safety factor of somewhere around 90 X... Please let me know if you think my calculations are wrong or if I've forgotten to take something into account...
That should be more than ample, you've obviously done the necessary research. EXCELLENT :thumbup:
 
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That should be more than ample, you've obviously done the necessary research. EXCELLENT :thumbup:
Well let's hope, otherwise I'm replacing my floors next week:m23::m23::m23::m23:

Here's a pic of the bolts before I painted them...

I managed to get the levels right on the X and Y axis by putting oversized SS washers between the wall and the frame. I'll do the final adjustments with sheets of cardboard under the polystyrene once I've finished the baffles etc. on the tank...
 
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Would trade up the hustle and bustle of JHB for a place like that in a heartbeat, except when us vaalies come down on holiday:biggrin::m12:.
I get it.. I guess I've never really known a life without the sea, so for me I've never considered living anywhere else. But I guess that's just me, I guess everyone is different! Ya holidays are crazy down here! In my younger, wilder days I worked as a seasonal lifeguard on the beaches, and jeez the Vaalies would be on the beach in any conditions; wind, rain, whatever, they'd be there:m23:
 
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SO I got the tank siliconed a few days ago, and it's been sitting and curing nicely. I'll pressure test it once I've got the baffles and acrylic overflow done. The back compartment will be a simple 3 baffle sump, Skimmer in the first, mechanical and bio filtration in the second and chemical filtration in the last with the return pump.

The tank glass is 10mm base and back as I mentioned before, and the viewing panes are 8mm optiwhite with polished edges. I used clear glue devil marine silicone. Interestingly, this silicone feels a bit softer than the bostik. Not sure if that affects strength at all?
 
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Looking great, great diy skills.
Thanks a stack, it' not usually something I pride myself on.

I've just picked up my acrylic back pane from laser cutting! R50 to get cut (it was under the minimum charge) and the 30x40 piece cost R151 at Maiseys. I'm quite happy with how it turned out! The cutting is so neat and clean, and exactly to spec.

 
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So the baffles and acrylic go in tonight, then the tank is complete! I've been looking for a DC pump, preferably the Jebao DCP 1200, but dammit, I can't find it anywhere online. Anyone know where I can pick up a small DC pump for my tank? It must be rated at no more than 2500L per hour (It'll be running at about 1000LPH probably)....
 

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