70 Gal Keith Grandt tank

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Corallus, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    Well, I've now been in the reef hobby for a little over a year. When I started out, I purposely set up something small - seemed less expensive, easier to manage, less of a commitment, etc, with the idea that if I really liked it, I would use the experience to move to something larger. I've kept freshwater tanks for more years than I'll admit, and despite the outstanding nano tanks I've seen here, I do enjoy keeping something that falls into the medium size range.

    Here's what that tank looks like today.
    Gettin' pretty full. Yes, that monti has grown onto the side of the glass and yes there's basically no room left for anything new, let alone for stuff to continue growing. So I starting keeping my eye out for a really nice 3' tank - and when I saw one listed here for sale, with basically everything needed to set it up, I cashed out my tank budget.

    Today's the first day I've actually done anything to it, so it seemed a good time to start a build thread.
    Here's the tank, (36"x24"x20" 1/2" starfire glass, according to seller made by Keith Grandt) with some of the supplies, sitting empty in my apartment, taking up the space where my wife thinks a Christmas tree should go...

    Came with a nice sump - 29"x20"x16" (according to seller, custom made at Neptune) and skimmer that fits pretty tightly in the stand:

    Another tank shot showing the bracing. Those metal brackets on top are for the Elos MH lights it came with. I've only run LEDs in the past, so it will be interesting to try these out.

    Here's the inside of the stand (according to seller, also custom built by Neptune), where I'm starting work.
    For some reason, the opening in the back went all the way to the bottom. I cut a piece of plywood to fit the bottom few inches, and once the glue sets, will lightly sand and paint the inside. I'd like the stand to be able to hold water for a little while if - correction - WHEN, I manage to spill, or something leaks. I have some leftover high humidity latex paint from when I painted my bathroom, so I'm planning to use that. Also, that means the inside will be white, which may seem odd, but I think will make it easer to see when working in it.

    The tank is drilled with 3 holes for 1" bulkheads, and I'm thinking a herbie style drain. I have some plumbing, but am going to need to pick a few things up at an aquarium shop this weekend that my hardware store doesn't stock (gate valve, unions). This may be pushing it, but I'd really like to have water in it by the end of the year...

    Here's my current plan:
    - Clean, paint, silicone (if needed) the inside of the stand.
    - Move the whole setup into place.
    - Plumb. Could really use some advise and help here, I've only setup freshwater tanks with wet/dry sumps before. Ideas seem similar, but I never had to worry much about water levels in FW. Just don't have so little that the return pump runs dry, and not so much that if the power shuts off the sump floods, or if the siphon breaks that the tank overflows.
    - Leak check.
    - Hopefully not re-plumb.
    - The fun part, sand, 'scape and moving of critters from the old setup to the new one. Right now I'm planning a larger version of what I have now - LPS, zoas, easy SPS, room for my RBTA to grow, and hopefully one day, a clam.

    Love to hear thoughts thoughts and ideas!
    tankguy, neuro, Vhuang168 and 4 others like this.
  2. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member


    Looking good, When ever I get the energy to re-due my sump and stand I am going to install this tub liner on the bottom to help for when we do spill water as this will protect the wood better then any paint...but the latex paint would be a good 2nd barrier...

    Here is a picture of the tub liner that I got from Home Depot ( @neuro ) gave me the idea and it works great...

    Also the RBTA looks good in your tank...I see that you got him next to your other RBTA that is bleached out...have you seen if your idea of both the RBTA being close to each other would color up the other RBTA?

    Is that a 5 head doser that I see also?
    neuro likes this.
  3. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Colorado member

    I'm looking forward to following your progress.
  4. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    Hi Jon - thanks for the idea about the liner, I was thinking of something similar with contact shelf paper (the plastic stuff), but that sounds more durable.

    For the RBTA, still not sure... I have not seen any evidence that the bleached one is gaining any color, but it's still hanging in there. They both "get along", yours will have tentacles laying right on top of my original one, and neither seem to care, which is good. I figured if it was going to work, it would take a while, but now I'm having my doubts (been 2 months). We'll see, at least yours seems to be doing well, which I'm really happy about. And yes, the Kore 5th doser :) I didn't even know what that was until I looked it up. Wish I could run it with the Apex but I may not even care about that anymore. Need to check the flow and possibly calibrate, but it seems to work, and can be programed pretty extensively.
  5. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Rolf - I'm psyched for you, this setup looks awesome. I have a bunch of random plumbing parts, 1" and 3/4" spa tubing if you want any to plumb your tank.

    Some folks like the hard-plumb things with PVC but I did well using the flexible spa tubing. Stuff is amazing tuff, but easier to bend and create fluid curves with.

    I also have some PVC glue/primer I never opened. And an extra Jebao DC-9000. All kinds of stuff.
  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    If you like spaflex, you would love the superflex from marine depot.
    Far easier to bend.
    In my rebuild, I used that on the tricky parts.
  7. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I should try that next time. Until I figured out you could heat up the spa tubing it was hard to work with. It sure is tough, though.
  8. bee505

    bee505 Supporting Member

    That is a really nice set up. Can't wait to see the progress on this.
  9. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    Spent most of yesterday working on getting the tank put together, and that's in addition to several hours during evenings over the course of the last 2 weeks. Did not imagine it would take so long, and it's still not ready yet... But that's OK, all part of the fun, right?

    After consideration, decided on a location for it. Next to the couch, which gets a nice side view so will need to 'scape based on two viewing angles. Mounted the halides, which took some work.

    Painted the inside of the cabinet. I liked @jonmos75 's idea of a liner on the bottom, but the internal angles of the stand would have made it really tricky to get a nice watertight seal. Then, yesterday - the plumbing. I've never plumbed a reef tank before. In my head, it was horribly complicated, and stayed that way as I measured, cut, swore, glued, got a bit of a buzz from the glue, and finally got it all in place. Now that it's there, it doesn't look complicated at all. I just hope it doesn't leak. I really hope it doesn't leak.
    Now I think I'm ready to leak test. All I should need to do is drop my pump in place and add water!
  10. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    That there is a sexy beast!
    Corallus likes this.
  11. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Nicely done!

    Curious: What is that big top slot for in the wall just left of the return pump section?
  12. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    You're switching to metal halides? It's going to be interesting, the acros are gonna love it.
  13. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    Thanks guys!
    @rygh, that's the opening in the back of the stand. Little tough to see in my pic because I painted the inside of the stand white, the back panel of the sump is white, and the wall behind the opening is white. That aluminum bar is the stand for the lighting. To me it's odd the back is basically open, but does allow for ventilation, and easy cord and ATO line (not setup yet) access.

    @Enderturtle , yeah, halides... wasn't my first choice, but they came with the system, so I figured I'll try them out and see how I (and the tank) like them. Can't see it in the pic, but there's a puck of royal blue led's in between the two pendants, which I like. The ballasts are 250 watt, that can be dialed down to 150. Was thinking of running them at 150 at first, and comparing light levels to what my Kessil 350 is set at now. But ohh, the Kessil AP700's setup at Neptune look really nice though... :D
  14. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    Yes, seeing this thread does make me want to start a new build.
  15. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Nice job on the plumbing! It looks really clean.

    There may well be leaks, but don't lose hope - you can always get it sorted out. It always takes a little time to shake down the system and get it all running smoothly. I'd love to hear more of your experience cutting/gluing PVC for the first time - I was a bit to intimidated to cut/glue so I did all threaded fittings and hosebarbs.
    Corallus likes this.
  16. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    @wpeterson, you're ruining my fairy-tail, dreamland expectations! ;) But you're so right, if something isn't right, water comes out, and I deal with it.

    I was originally going to wait until I finally fill and run it before responding about working with the PVC - if everything works, it was easy! If there are leaks all over the place, it was super difficult! But really, the process of getting it all measured, cut and glued was not as bad as I thought it would be. The bulkheads give you a little room for error (can loosen and re-tighten if you're off by a little) and using the couplings allows for a little rotation, and ultimately the ability to easily replace a section if necessary. Ironically, I ended up not "measuring" many pieces at all. I would cut, glue, move on to the next piece so that I only really needed to measure one length joining a run - and that would be dry fit before gluing (not always easy). Some parts were trickier than others, like gluing an elbow at each end of a piece so they were offset 90 degrees to each other. And for the return, it was really easy, there was only one fixed end (tank bulkhead). For the tank to gate valve run, when I was done, the 2 halves of the final coupling rested right on top of each other before tightening. For the tank to siphon run, the two halves of the last coupling were off by about 1/4". There seemed to be enough flex that it was easy to join the coupling, and I think the o-ring is seated pretty well. We'll see...

    For me, I was using a compound miter saw to make the cuts - super quick, clean and square. I know a lot of people use PVC shears, but I didn't have any and the saw seemed better (Except for the mess, looks like it snowed on my deck...) My layout is not the most efficient for water flow, but I really wanted easy access to the sump. Will find out soon if it's too restrictive for the pump I'm planning on using. Hopefully it will have water flowing in it before Christmas!
    wpeterson likes this.
  17. mediumrare

    mediumrare Guest

    I did the grey PVC sheeting for my stand liner and it's great.
  18. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    It's had water in and flowing for about 5 hours now. Starting to get optimistic, I haven't found a drop of water anywhere it's not supposed to be. I'm running the gate valve a little more closed than ideal to make sure the secondary line has plenty of flow as well. Aside to the pump being louder than I expected, and transmitting more vibration than I'd hoped through vinyl tubing, it's pretty quite. Going to be funny when a 70 gal system with a sump is quieter than a 25 gal without a sump... If it still looks good tomorrow, will add salt and sand!
    jonmos75, Enderturtle and wpeterson like this.
  19. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Congrats! I'm psyched to hear it's going well.
    Corallus likes this.
  20. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    very clean set up
    Corallus likes this.

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