The day has arrived! Well the day I finally put together the thread...
Well here is the build. I have resized all the pictures, hopefully you guys don't have dial up, but they're still big so they have been linked instead since this forum doesn't do the automatic resize thumbnails. Each pic is approx 1000x900
Here is what I started with...a poorly finished, not quite adequately supported stand and hood, and a pretty beat 100 gallon tank..with lots of deposits, scratches and scuffs. I tried CLR, vinegar, everything and couldn't get it off so I sold it and replaced it with a brand new tank.
Since the 100 gallon was a compromise with my wife, I agreed to make it match the cabinetry in our apartment's kitchen as best I could. This involved paint matching the cabinets, adding hardware and molding.
A lot of sanding, priming, filling and painting later it started to come together.
In the process I also added some 2x4s for support.
Here in its place in the dining room:
And the kitchen for reference, don't mind the mess I was waiting for my household goods to arrive.
Next step was building the filter. I had decided on a sump from the start, and knew I wanted as close as I could get to 30 gallons. I borrowed from several members on this site as well as some of my own stuff. I didn't take pictures during assembly, but it uses a 5 gallon paint bucket, an organizational tray at the bottom, a 29 gallon super heavy duty rubbermaid style container, loofas, pot scrubbers, and polyfil.
It initially started with a via aqua 3400 return pump but today the pump somehow had leaked, so it began carrying current up through the return pipe and electrifying the water on the right side of the tank. Luckily it wasn't much current so it didn't harm the fish and the sump/left side of the tank was fine, and the fish stayed over there. I found out the hard way when I was checking the tank. Ouch.
Replaced it today with a quiet one 2500 and its working relatively well but isn't as quiet as I would have hoped. It is gated down a little bit but not much..it just vibrates a lot. More on that later.
The overflow portion was handled by an Eshopps PF-1000 overflow box. I have 1" drain lines and 3/4" return. Currently I have gated my return back probably 20% and my overflow has a pretty noticeable trickle noise because one of the lines is flowing about 80% and the other about 30%. I am going to play with the drains, and possibly only run one if it still flows right. I am guessing I am getting about 500 gph of turnover right now. I have dual Hofer gurgle busters to get rid of the gurgling, so my sump is only making the trickle noise and the pump is humming. I am going to work on the humming because its driving me nuts.
Inside the sump I have a 25w tetra heater and a 200w ViaAqua stainless steel heater. Both work great. I had an airstone but do not use it because I get plenty of oxygenation. I also blew up a 100 w glass heather in the sump and shocked the heck out of myself then too. I then switched to the stainless and it works awesome.
The spray bar was custom made by me, and is made of 3/4" PVC, a couple elbows and krylon fusion black paint.
Next up was lighting-I went with Home Depot T-5 dual shoplights. I wanted two so I could use the CoraLife power center dual timer, and run day lights, moonlights and Noon sun lights.
I wish I had gone with t-12 instead of the 10 dollar t-5 units but they work. I will switch to LEDs down the road.
Currently have one actinic, one 6500k and two 4300k. The 4300k run all day (10 hours), the 6500k and atinic run about 5 hours from 11-4.
The moonlights are at one corner shining down together, and are two Blue Leds and two White LEDs..they look great.
Next step was the background. I decided for the foam and drylok route. I used several layers of 1" white foam (all I had available here without going to extremes to find it) about 12 tubes of silicone total, lots of sanding, a gallon of beige drylok and the requisite three colors of quikrete cement dye.
The background had to be in three pieces to fit between the center brace, and I also knew I wanted some fake rocks. One as a hiding spot for some fish (I ended up placing terra cotta pots behind it) and one to hide the koralia nano I am using for more circulation.
It was a several step process. Some things I learned: I would look for some different foam, and thicker blocks next time. I had to cut layers and silicone it together and it left some visible seams I had to work to cover down the road with drylok. Buy lots of silicone because I used a ton to be safe. I should've cut along the seams of the rocks instead of straight down. I decided to keep it relatively thin in an effort to keep as much swimming space in the tank as I could, but next time I would probably go for a deeper tank and add more depth to the background.
Mesh to help hide the overflow cut out from a distance:
Now at this point I stopped taking so many pictures haha. Due to my job, schools and other stuff this was about a 5 month venture, so I sometimes lost patience. I let the background cure for about 4 weeks, then bought a 50 pound bag of quikrete 10 grit sand. I wanted the heavy grit, and I think it looks great. It took a good amount of rinsing, but nothing too ridiculous. I used almost half the bag and have 2-4" of bed all around.
Then it was time to testfill:
And spend hours upon hours over several days fine tuning the flows. I have an 80% solution now. I am not completely happy. Welcome to the sump world.
Then time to cycle. This was taken care of by using an automatic feeder, and a heavy dose of food twice a day, over about a month. I kickstarted it with a small piece of polyfil from the filter in my 2.5 gallon tank to seed it. After a month of letting the food decompose and do its thing, I had a very heavily cycled tank. I still expect a small mini cycle in the following days since I added fish but we will see how bad it is. I'm not expecting it to be too bad.