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Lewy's Cube Rebuild - PAR readings 30.08.09

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Lewy's Cube Rebuild - PAR readings 30.08.09

Postby Lewy » Fri 31 Oct, 2008 10:41 pm

Introduction:
My acrylic setup had reached and past it's first anniversary (August).

Lots have been learnt along the way on keeping such a relatively small setup. Things have been going great until I noticed that the sides were beginning to bow out a touch and some crazing starting to appear on the surface. I tried to polish these out. But the crazing seemed to be internal and slowly spreading.

Figured that the cause had to be due to either the incorrect grade of acrylic used or not the correct thickness of acrylic maybe a combination of both.

Final straw was when I had a run in with a few small seastars whilst cleaning the sides with a magnetic cleaner. The little buggers hide in the corners of the tank, and since I have black vinyl covering the sides I couldn't see them. So when I went around the corners they would get caught under the cleaning pad and you can imagine what happened next?

As I was moving the magnet back and forth I noticed a bit of smudging appearing on the sides. Thinking that it may be some water picked up and the magnet was just smearing it I took no notice until I wiped my finger on it. Nope..not water... Dooh.. I then noticed the small seastar under the magnet. F%^k!!!!

Too late. So took the bugger out. Damage had been done. So didn't think anymore of it until the next week. Same thing happened!!!!

So being extremely pissed off on the whole acrylic thing. I set about designing a new tank from glass.

What led me to acrylic in the first instance was my experience with some pesky silicon boring worm. My way of getting around the silicon boring worm problem was to use some marine grade epoxy over the silicon. I have used this on my sump for the past year and have had no problems.

After looking long and hard and the current setup. I decided to make the new one exactly the same if possible. If it ain't broke...

So me being not one to muck around and cut corners I ordered the glass from Veridian.

1. 3 viewing panes - 10mm Superclear (optiwhite)
2. Bottom pane - 10mm float
3. Rear - 10mm grey tint
4. External weir - 10mm grey tint
5. Top Eurobracing 10mm

Holes and overflow slot at the rear were drilled and cut the the glass people. All sides and edges were polished and beveled.

Rhodorsil V2 was sourced and used for tank construction. This silicon is structural grade and is so strong that I decided to do away with the top bracing and used it on the bottom due to my dodgy silicon job.

10mm weir construction was total overkill and I noticed that the weir box was very heavy. So I got some additional glass cut in triangles to use as gussets for more support.
Last edited by Lewy on Sun 30 Aug, 2009 8:31 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Postby Lewy » Fri 31 Oct, 2008 10:41 pm

Didn't take enough pics during the construction phase. :furious:

This one shows the difference between the standard float glass and the superclear. It is a lot more obvious in real life.

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Last edited by Lewy on Sat 01 Nov, 2008 10:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Lewy » Fri 31 Oct, 2008 10:44 pm

Water testing for leaks. All good. Gussets not installed yet.

Black corner trims are also going to be installed to hide my dodgy silicon job.

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Last edited by Lewy on Sat 01 Nov, 2008 10:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Lewy » Fri 31 Oct, 2008 10:44 pm

Not being too impressed with my current aquascaping. ie. one large bommie with no shape or form. I decided to try out the false background idea that I have seen on Reefcentral.

It took me almost a day to complete with a quick trip to the beach to collect the correct shape corals.

Awaiting another can of foam before I silicon it to the glass and seal all the edges with foam so the the fish can't get trapped behind.

Photos are before the epoxy and sand coating.

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Postby Lewy » Sat 01 Nov, 2008 10:18 pm

Coated with epoxy and sand and hosed down.

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Postby Lewy » Sat 01 Nov, 2008 10:20 pm

Sides installed. Still a bit of final trimming to take place and have to remove a coral in front of the pump.

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Postby Lewy » Sat 01 Nov, 2008 10:27 pm

Bottom is going to be crushed marble. I have recently picked up a largish acro based piece of LR which is currently under going cycling in a separate tub.

It is a very nice shape and will be placed in the centre. A lot more swimming space for the fish now.
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Postby StripestheEel » Sat 01 Nov, 2008 10:56 pm

Definitely something different. Will keep an eye on how this progresses. Well done!
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Postby Namn8r » Sun 02 Nov, 2008 9:09 am

That back is looking great Lewy! can t wait to see it wet!

cheers,

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Postby Rod the Reefer » Sun 02 Nov, 2008 10:13 am

Looking good Lewy!

I've been waiting for someone to have a serious go at this.

Will be watching with great interest.

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby kurt » Sun 02 Nov, 2008 10:26 am

wow nice job mate, love the background idea look forward to seeing more. :cheers:
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Postby Chow » Sun 02 Nov, 2008 10:47 am

Looking forward to see how your background ends up looking in the tank. Keep us posted :cheers:
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Postby Lewy » Sun 16 Nov, 2008 3:33 pm

Backgrounds and corner trims have been attached. Also took the opportunity to test the new Vortech as well. :thumbsup:

Will leave the water in for a few days and then drain and cut off some threads from the bulkheads.

Fingers crossed for the changeover on Saturday morning.

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Postby dougie » Sun 16 Nov, 2008 4:17 pm

fantastic job, looks tops!!
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Sun 16 Nov, 2008 8:03 pm

Nice mate!

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby Lewy » Sat 22 Nov, 2008 11:30 pm

2.5hr to changeover to the new tank this morning. All went well except for a leaking valve. Luckily I had a spare one.

Marble substrate was laid on top if a bucket of live sand collected last week. So hopefully will not take long to populate. Cuc is now living it up in the sump whilst new substrate matures.

I transferred as much LR from the old setup as I could and placed them in the sump and the pico. They will be slowly removed as the tank matures.

Hopefully not too much of a spike.

But all fishies seem happy and the tank is slowly starting to clear.

I will take some better pics tomorrow if I get time.


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Postby Steve Campbell » Sun 23 Nov, 2008 12:16 pm

Looks fantastic Lewy.
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Postby Lewy » Sun 23 Nov, 2008 12:38 pm

Thanks mate.

For those looking at building a cube. I would highly recommend low iron glass for the viewing panes.

Well worth the additional expense.

I'll throw some pics up of my new lighting setup. Once I have trimmed the wires.
Last edited by Lewy on Sat 06 Dec, 2008 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Guv » Sun 23 Nov, 2008 1:58 pm

Sweet! :thumbsup:
The time for action is past! Now is the time for senseless bickering.

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Postby Purple » Sun 23 Nov, 2008 2:41 pm

Wow, the rock wall background looks fantastic.

I love your fish too!
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Postby cjsimon_11 » Sun 23 Nov, 2008 2:52 pm

Looks awesome lewy, like the look of the backing you have made
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Postby Lewy » Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:04 pm

As promised pics of my lighting after a bit of tidying up. Not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as the old Guiessman.

But I love the more natural look of the Leds.

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Postby deano_cvon_1989 » Mon 24 Nov, 2008 11:46 pm

unreal mate...I might of missed it but what are the dimensions on the cube?

Also any more info on how you did the background or where you found the info and products to do it, looks realy nice and will only get better in time :D
trying to replicate my little nor-west reef...well something similar for now...
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Postby Lewy » Tue 25 Nov, 2008 8:37 am

External dimensions are 620W x 620D x 550H (10mm glass).

There are a few posts on Reefcentral in the DIY section explaining how to do it.

Pretty easy though.

Items required:
- Eggcrate backing
- Dead Rock
- Cable ties
- Pond foam - http://www.waterscapesaustralia.com.au/Products.html
- Gloves
- Plastic sheet
- Razor blade
- 2 part epoxy (30 min. drying time from hobby shop)
- stiff paintbrush
- A bit of imagination.

Lay your plastic sheeting down flat and cut eggcrate to suit your tank sides.

Arrange rock and cable tie to the eggcrate.

Lay onto plastic sheeting. Do not use newspaper as I did. The foam will stick to the paper and you will spend some time with the razor blade trimming it all off.

Slowly apply the foam to all the exposed eggcrate and around the rock until you are happy with the coverage. Keep in mind that it will expand. You can work the stuff around with a paddlepop stick if you want. Ensure that you wear gloves as it is extremely sticky stuff and does not come off easily.

Let it dry overnight and then you can cut off the cable ties.

Mix a liberal amount of epoxy and with the stiff paintbrush and apply to the foam. You can then sprinkle on some sand before it dries.

Leave a day to dry and them hose down to remove any loose sand and repeat again if you have missed some spots.

Use the razor blade to trim any foam off the back so that you get a nice even surface.

Trial fit to tank and trim if necessary.

When happy with it. Use a good quality silicone and glue the background to the glass. Use clamps and rocks to hold it until it dries.

I then used more foam to fill in any gaps so that fish couldn't get in behind the background.
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Tue 25 Nov, 2008 11:00 am

Looks brilliant Lewy!! :clap: :clap:

Nice change from the pile of rocks in the centre of a cube.

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby Palpatine » Tue 25 Nov, 2008 11:23 am

Can we get some info on your lights please?

Where did you source them from, and rough price?

I've read good reviews of the aqua illumination lights.
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Postby Lewy » Tue 25 Nov, 2008 11:57 am

Rod the Reefer wrote:Nice change from the pile of rocks in the centre of a cube.


Yes, makes a big difference. The big bommie does take up a lot of real estate in a cube. Fish are more happy now with more swimming room.
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Postby Lewy » Tue 25 Nov, 2008 11:59 am

Palpatine,

Yes they are Aqua Illumination modules. Sourced from Michael at Reefinglife.

I read about all the problems with the other brand so went with this one. I have actually been runnign them since August and they haven't missed a beat yet.
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Postby blags » Tue 25 Nov, 2008 1:16 pm

Looking good and love the wall :thumbsup:
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Postby StripestheEel » Tue 25 Nov, 2008 2:05 pm

Looks great Lewy.
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