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Old 11-01-2019, 08:48 PM
cvrle1 cvrle1 is offline
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Default 5 Feet, 110 Gallons of Fun

Hello everyone, I figured it would be good to start my own build thread for several reasons. I got a lot of ideas and help from various folks on Can Reef last time around and so far, so I would like to pay it back even a bit if I can. Also, it would be neat to see progress for myself and how things evolve and change.

I picked up acrylic (5 foot x 18" x 24") 110 gallon tank several months ago. This is what it looked like when I got it





As you can see it was in a somewhat rough shape, but all seams were looking good and it held water fine. After week long water test I cleaned up algae with Mr Clean eraser. This stuff is magic. I could now see what I was actually working with.

I am guessing PO tried to buff out scratches, used higher grit sand paper and then gave up.




Lots of scratches everywhere.


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Old 11-01-2019, 08:50 PM
cvrle1 cvrle1 is offline
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I knew I would have to sand the whole tank down and then buff/polish. Kicker was, I never did anything of this sort before, so I spend several weeks of research, asking question here and various other forums. It was actually slief's video on polishing scratches out of acrylic aquarium that I found on RC that got me thinking about this to begin with. If you havent seen these videos, and plan on doing polishing, you should watch them for sure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8eTWZSNLWM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXthrMx7sq4

Since scratches were all over, I decided to sand down whole tank inside and out. I started with 400 grit sandpaper and used palm sander for the whole job. This thing was damn loud! I had to use ear plugs or else I wouldnt be able to hear anything for weeks.

Sanding outside was nice and easy and quick, however inside was a lot harder due to the brace on the top. It was hard to get in and properly sand it down, as I couldnt get good grip on the sander. It wanted to fly all over the place, so that wasnt fun.

Here is what tank looked like after 400 grit




Needless to say I was freaked out at this point, and thought to myself more than once what the hell have I done.

I went 400, 600, skipped to 1000 because I got different sand paper and their 800 felt rougher than 600 I used, 1200, 1500 and finally 2000. This took several weeks, as I was doing this after work. Since sander was really loud, I didnt want neighbors to complain, so I only did few hours every day or 2.

This is what it looked like after 2000 grit


I could at least somewhat see inside it, so I was happy to see it was clearing up as grit progressed. Next up was polishing and buffing...
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:51 PM
cvrle1 cvrle1 is offline
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Another thing I never did was buff/polish. Not just acrylic, but anything at all. Again I spent about a week reading up various forums, watched videos and so on. I decided I will use Novus 3, 2 and 1 for this final step. I ended up getting a really good deal on dual action polisher, and bought Chemical Guys cutting, polishing and finishing pads.

I started off with Novus 3 and used Medium/Heavy cutting pad. I had DA at speed 2 out of 6. This is what tank looked like once it was done




I was really shocked to see this much of a difference, and definitely didnt expect it. I could still see light scratches from sander, but felt good about it, knowing I still have Novus 2 to use.

I used Novus 2 with same pad as with Novus 3 (new pad, but same type). After Novus 2, all the scratches were gone, and tank was looking really good. Again I wasnt expecting this



Finally, I used Novus 1 twice. 1st time it was with Light/Medium polishing pad and then with finishing pad. I felt that after 1st run, there was still some novus 2 left behind, so I wanted to use softer pad. After Novus 1, it looked great to me at least (all dirt is splatter from sanding and polishing on the black stand behind the tank)





There is a bit of hazing when I look through some panels, but I will take it. Once it is filled with water, it wont be visible at all, and considering what it looked like when I started this journey, I am extremely happy with how it turned out.

Next up, building a stand.
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:52 PM
cvrle1 cvrle1 is offline
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I decided to use RocketEngineer's tried and true template for my stand build. There is a massive thread on RC with info on it

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1169964

Since it was a 5 foot tank, I decided to go with 2x6s for the top frame. Height of the stand is 37.5". That should give me plenty of room underneath to fit skimmer and all other goodies that will be needed, as well as do maintenance when needed. At 1st my plan was to use 40G breeder for sump, however I got IceCap 36XL sump. Issue now was that tank width is 18" but sump is 24". I had to modify my plans, and came up with this in the end






I extended top and bottom frame to 24" so that sump can fit at the bottom, and added 2 off centered vertical supports. These are mostly for doors or however I decide to skin, and to be able to separate equipment from the sump. I still havent decided how that will all work out, so that is TBD for sure. I will leave back completely opened for air circulation, and will leave opening between 18-24 inches at the top open as well. It will give me lots of room for plumbing and other things that need to move between DT and sump. Sides will be skinned, so only opening that will be visible will be that one at the top. I caulked all the joints inside and outside with Alex Plus Acrylic Latex and primed it with 2 coats of Kilz Original. Plan is to start skinning it this weekend. Will post up as it progresses.
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:15 PM
Llorgon Llorgon is offline
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The tank came out looking awesome! How long did it take to do all the sanding? I bet doing the inside and the corners were a pain.


I like your stand design. Having the extra space at the front of the stand will be nice. I had a old freshwater tank with a similar stand and I found it helpful to be able to just put something down on the stand when working on it.



Let me know how you like the ice cap sump. I have a 20 gallon tank as a sump for my 75 gallon and it's a real pain to work with. I have been thinking of going with a pre made one when I set it up again. Where did you get it from?
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:54 PM
cvrle1 cvrle1 is offline
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I spread it out around 1 month or so, but I only did few hours a day, and not every day. I would say each grit took 2-3 hours to do, so about 10-12 for sanding. For buffing, 3-4 hours per Novus, so around 8 hours. Total I guess around 20 hours +- few

I got that sump from Coralvue Outlet eBay store. I was going to build my own out of 40g breeder, and figured tank + baffle kit would be around $200. I saw 36xl sump for $275, as manufacturer mucked up and used some sort of yellow glue in few seams. Because of that they couldnt sell it through regular store at regular price. I figured for $75 extra I may as well get much nicer and bigger sump, and not mess around with building my own.
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:56 AM
LifeIsGreat LifeIsGreat is offline
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Wow, great work! I did a bit of car buffing when I was in high school so I know how hard it is to get a nice polish. Waxing the outside of the tank might get the clarity up a bit too, and hide the buffing swirls, just don't do the inside due to the chemicals.
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Old 11-07-2019, 03:59 AM
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bauder1986 bauder1986 is offline
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Man this tank is going to be stellar! I'm looking forward to the next few months of this!
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:16 AM
cvrle1 cvrle1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsGreat View Post
Wow, great work! I did a bit of car buffing when I was in high school so I know how hard it is to get a nice polish. Waxing the outside of the tank might get the clarity up a bit too, and hide the buffing swirls, just don't do the inside due to the chemicals.
Truth be told I couldnt see swirl marks from buffing. I was using Dual Action polisher for it, so maybe that helped. I think that once water goes in, it will be crystal clear. When I got it, back was horribly cloudy, but it wasnt visible with water in it at all. Will have to wash it out with bleach/water mix, to get all novus residue out, so will see how it will look at that time as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bauder1986 View Post
Man this tank is going to be stellar! I'm looking forward to the next few months of this!

Hope you are right haha. It will be slow and steady sort of a build I hope. I am doing this in my townhouse garage, so it is cold in there now. I cant spend as much time as I would have during the summer. May have to fire up a heater to extend some work hours. With garage getting cold, I may only have 6 months timeframe to run QT tanks as well, as I am not sure if heaters will be able to keep water at correct temp when garage will be at like 0C during winter.

Last edited by cvrle1; 11-07-2019 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvrle1 View Post
Hope you are right haha. It will be slow and steady sort of a build I hope. I am doing this in my townhouse garage, so it is cold in there now. I cant spend as much time as I would have during the summer. May have to fire up a heater to extend some work hours. With garage getting cold, I may only have 6 months timeframe to run QT tanks as well, as I am not sure if heaters will be able to keep water at correct temp when garage will be at like 0C during winter.
Hmm....you should test it out. Put a big ass heater inside of a Rubbermaid with good circulation and a temp monitor. See if the heater and water flow can keep up to the cold temps. I'm thinking maybe at least 600 watts to 20 gallons of water to be sure. If that doesn't work quite well enough then entertain insulating the bottom and sides of the tank/container with styrofoam to trap the heat.
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