View Full Version : Gem's 60 gal Cube

05-08-2011, 12:06 AM
I haven't been around here for a while and kind of missed AC. I've been lurking a bit the last couple weeks and decided that since I have been on here a little more consistantly, I would post my current project. I have been through a couple reef tanks of the last few years. The first was a 2.5 gallon Pico Reef. I kind of miss that tank, but soon upgraded to a 46 gal acryllic with a CPR overflow. It was pieced together from odds and ends. A bit later, I decided to play like the big boys. I won a 110 gal tank (no overflow). Drilled it....built a coast to coast overflow. Built a stand, and bought better equiptment and more live rock. That tank later leaked and that very day, timing was on my side. At the same time I was posting on my local forum looking for a 100 gallon stock tub and help from local reefers to tear the tank down, a friend posted that she was giving away a reef ready 110 gal tank with the exact same measurements as mine. It was pretty amazingly coincidental. That is the current tank I have now. Unfortunately I have no pictures of it and because I don't have the energy to maintain it, it's gone downhill and looks like butt! So I won't post a current picture. (blush)

Recently, once again, timing on my side and in the right place at the right time, I picked up the perfect tank! Here's how the story goes......

05-08-2011, 12:11 AM
Timing is everything.....again......

A club member won a really nice 60 gal starfire rimless cube with external overflow that was built by our local tank builder extrodinaire at a club Christmas party a couple years back. I had probably dumped a good $50 in the raffle for it.....but she won......Cest la vous...

Well.....she was never able to set it up and was looking to rehome it. Guess who was at the right place at the right time... :19:

Here are a couple shots of the new tank.....front and top down



The back is smoked glass.

05-08-2011, 12:16 AM
And the stand....with and without sump under it. I had it built at an iron works place that does steel and wraught iron work etc. It's all 1 inch stainless steel tubing. The sump fits perfect the way it sits in the picture....but after much discussion on better space management.....that's not quite how the sump will sit. Or at all how it will sit for that matter. That's for me and my build consultant (boyfriend) to know and you to find out later.

05-08-2011, 12:18 AM
I've decided to go with painting the stand rather than powder coat. Powder coat is probably better but honestly, it's not going to be exposed to outdoor elements so I really think with a good several coats of paint it should be fine.

05-08-2011, 12:22 AM
I'm really happy about how things are turning out with this build. BF came over today with his saw and helped me plan out exactly what I wanted to do with this stand. And then we got to work...well...after Home Depot and Chipotle that is.

Here are a few angles part way through the build....

05-08-2011, 12:26 AM
Next came drilling holes for the plumbing and painting the wood.




05-08-2011, 12:27 AM
Interesting history but off to a great start it seems! Good luck with this tank thumbs2:

05-08-2011, 12:29 AM
Now to explain the woodwork under the stand....

All my equiptment will fit in there like a puzzle. It will be tight but very organized and manageable.
The box that we built into the stand is for anything and everything electrical. My power strip, DC8, Ballast, ATO controller....etc...will be mounted in that box away from the water. There are hole drilled in the back of the box for cords.

The stand will eventually be skinned and the skins held on by magnets. The underside of the stand will be accessable from front and both sides.

05-08-2011, 12:30 AM
Interesting history but off to a great start it seems! Good luck with this tank thumbs2:

Thanks. Started this build about a month ago. Just figured I would share.

05-08-2011, 12:32 AM
Cut some drydeck to fit into the electrical box floor to provide air flow for the ballast.


05-08-2011, 12:34 AM
The back pain of glass is smoked, but it just wasnt dark enough to hide the plumbing. It was kind of a shame to paint that pretty smoked glass but I don't want to see the plumbing. So a little Krylon paint and we're almost ready to get it up on the stand, plumbed and filled with water!!!


05-08-2011, 12:36 AM
Thanks to a couple of local reefer friends, we got the tank back in the house and on the stand and positioned perfectly so I can get the framework around the tank on there. The tank is sitting on a foam pad. I'll be making a tabletop/frame for the top of the stand with 3.5" wide red oak boards. The bottom 1" of the tank will be hidden and the boards will overhang enough to accomodate skins attached by magnet.


05-08-2011, 12:43 AM
All of the above has been happening at a slow pace over the last month or so.

Here is where I'm at today.....Today was plumbing day....

The top of the drain is a piece of PVC cut at a 45 angle in a 45 angle connector. This set up my boyfriend used on his last 2 tanks and they are virtually silent! I'm hoping it works as well on this type of overflow. Pretty sure it will.....but I have a back up plan.

The closest drain is the main overflow drain. It's 1.5 inch pvc. It's reduced underneath to 1" and then to the fuge it's reduced again to 3/4 " after a ball valve.
The far drain is 1" all the way down and is an emargency drain. It sits about 3/4 " higher than the main overflow drain.


Here's the underside.


And return hose....not yet set up. I was so happy to find it at Home Depot and not have to order it. I've never been able to find black 3/4" vinyl hose locally. Till now! thumbs2:


05-08-2011, 12:47 AM
And you can't have a build thread without a couple of screw ups. I am notoriously clutzy.....besides the half quart of white paint I spilled in the garage while painting...
(I just kind of rolled with it and dipped my brush in the puddle :11:


Here's a pic of the Christy's Blue PVC Glue I spilled on the carpet.....oops.


A little goof off and a stiff nylon brush and it's better. There's still a blue tinge, and I will get more goof off and continue to work on it....but it's definately better.


05-08-2011, 03:31 AM
Your build is looking good. Great journal too.

I must say, I didn't think you could get any PVC glue out of carpet, but almost got it all

I have a question about the plumbing in your overflow. I was wondering why you have chosen that design. Most people go with a typical stand pipe so when I see some different it really makes me think

05-08-2011, 03:58 AM
Can tell already it's going to look great when finished. Keep the updates coming thumbs2:

05-08-2011, 06:14 AM
Your build is looking good. Great journal too.

I must say, I didn't think you could get any PVC glue out of carpet, but almost got it all

I have a question about the plumbing in your overflow. I was wondering why you have chosen that design. Most people go with a typical stand pipe so when I see some different it really makes me think

This overflow design is something my boyfriend came up with on a lunch break. It's not typical. And that's why I chose it. We are always looking for ways to make our systems quiet and he suddenly thought "what if we took a 45 and a piece of PVC and cut the PVC at a 45 degree angle....what would happen". He tried it on a 15 gal nano and it was dead silent. He then used the same design on his 70 gal shallow rimless leemar tank and it was silent and worked flawlessly. It has yet to be tested on my type of overflow. I will soon see how it works out. The difference between the others and mine is that I have an emergency drain. Both of his tanks have standard overflow boxes that are the same height as the tank. My tank is 24" deep while my external overflow box is only 5 inches deep. So I will soon find out if it is feasable. The pieces inside the overflow are not glued in so that they are adjustable. If it doesn't work, I can convert it to something more standard.

05-08-2011, 06:17 AM
Can tell already it's going to look great when finished. Keep the updates coming thumbs2:

Wait till you see it with the lights on. Ok...I'll tease you with a pic. This is empty (obviously) with actinics, moonlights, and 250 watt pheonix 14K MH. The light is a Coralife 250 watt with 2x65 watt pc actinics.


05-08-2011, 02:23 PM
Thanks for the info Gem

I think I'm going see if your idea might work on my tank.

I can hardly wait to see you tank all set-up and stocked. It's going to look great !!!

05-08-2011, 06:27 PM
Lookin good gem! love the color of the lighting:)

And that's an interesting idea for the overflows too I'm interested to see if it works or not!

05-12-2011, 10:25 AM
Tank is looking great there Gemmy. Can't wait to see you fill it up again.

05-13-2011, 05:22 AM
Thanks Brad. That was done on Sunday. I did things the unconventional way. My goal was mainly to get the 110 down and rescue my suffering corals. I spent far too little time on the tank because of the amount of maintenance and cash to properly keep a tank that size. Am very happy with my little 60 gal. Besides the fact that it's very pretty.

First...my reefing history just for kicks......

My first tank.... 2.5 gal pico reef. (blush)


Then....upgraded to a ghetto rigged, put together with things I had lying around the house 46 gal



05-13-2011, 05:24 AM
Next came the upgrade to the 110 gal


05-13-2011, 05:31 AM
Somewhere in there I also had a 34 gal seahorse tank. But multiple tanks was really too much.

And now.....

The electrical box....all the cords will be arranged neatly once I get everything dialed in and set on the DC8. I haven't reprogramed it yet. I had 2 MH's on the 110 and only one on this tank so the timing it off.


05-13-2011, 05:34 AM
A view from the front. You can see the AC Jr and the ATO tank.


The sump area. My Euro Reef RS 8-2 didn't fit in this sump. I thought it would......micalculated by a long shot. It was really better anyway. That skimmer was WAY too much for this tank.


05-13-2011, 05:37 AM
The first chamber in the sump is fed off the main drain but has minimal flow. That chamber will be a refugium. The fuge really should be after the skimmer chamber, but ....again....unconventional. And that's something people often debate anyway. To each their own I say.


05-13-2011, 05:39 AM
I worked out a trade with a friend from my reef club. All my rock from the 110 for a Euro Reef 5 series skimmer with Sedra 3500 pump. Much better fit. And I love this skimmer. It kicks booty!



05-13-2011, 05:40 AM
And finally ...a full tank shot. I have no sand and only very minimal rock. I will be ordering Marco rock this next week as well as sand. For now it's BB and my corals are on the floor and/or the one rock in the tank.


05-13-2011, 05:41 AM
I will be skinning the stand eventually, as well as framing the tank with red oak.

05-23-2011, 03:37 AM
The tank finally got sand today. I stopped being lazy and rinsed and sifted my old sand!


Also added a new critter yesterday. I think he's happy to have sand now instead of slipping around on the glass bottom! Love my little staghorn crab!


05-23-2011, 03:41 AM
Wow, that crab is amazing. That's quite a beautiful tank you have, too! I really love that centerpiece of rock you have, it's stunning.

05-23-2011, 03:54 AM
Looking good

05-23-2011, 12:23 PM
Wow, that crab is amazing. That's quite a beautiful tank you have, too! I really love that centerpiece of rock you have, it's stunning.

Thanks. The crab is really cool. You just have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don't overturn themselves. They can't turn back over easily.
As for the rock, thank you again, but it's actually a temporary thing. It will be joined soon by 50lbs of Marco Rock. :ssmile:

05-23-2011, 01:25 PM
I expected that. I hope it goes well for you!

And yeah the crab really would have issues getting back up, wouldn't it? Poor thing.

05-24-2011, 02:15 AM
Tank is looking awesome!! Keep the news coming!

05-24-2011, 04:26 AM
I still can't believe how great some of the tanks on here are. Yours Gem is just fantastic. Can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the live rock.

05-25-2011, 01:08 AM
Thanks guys. Came home from work today to find that my Koralia had blown my sand all away from the front of the tank and buried my corals. So, I rearranged the sand, unburied the corals, and reaimed the Koralia. In doing so, my already precariously perched one large rock tipped forward. It has a flat bottom that it was sitting on, but my pistol shrimp has excavated under and around it, so it wasn't as stable as it was before sand. I know that doesn't make sense since the rock was still sitting on the glass, but that's how it seemed to work out. Prior to the sand he was up in the rock. He apparently prefers to bury himself.

All fixed now.....but this make waiting for my Marco rock more aggravating. It was shipped yesterday. Florida to California takes 5 days. It's due to arrive Fedex on the 28th. Can't wait!!!!

05-25-2011, 04:04 AM
As long as nothing was hurt, no harm done right?

Can't wait for you to get your rock and place it in your tank! I'm sure it will look suitably amazing. :]

05-25-2011, 12:19 PM
Absolutely! thumbs2:

05-28-2011, 04:39 PM
My rock will be delivered today!!! Woooooohoooooo!!!! :19:

Standing by the front door waiting.....waiting.....waiting................... .:18:

05-28-2011, 10:58 PM
You better be holding onto a camera at some stage today too. :-p

05-29-2011, 12:08 AM
Have every plan to do that. Rock is still not here. It's 5 pm my time and Fedex still hasn't delivered. I hate that they get to my neighborhood so dang late!

05-29-2011, 06:14 AM
Fedex finally showed up about 7:30 pm.


05-29-2011, 06:15 AM
A couple dry mock ups.......


05-29-2011, 06:17 AM
Turned out a little different once in the tank...but I like it. Pics don't do it justice at all. Lots of little caves and nooks and crannies. The fish seem to love it! Still cloudy. I will post more pics tomorrow once it's cleared up and corals placed where they should be.


05-29-2011, 06:54 AM
Nifty cool, gemmy :)


05-29-2011, 09:34 AM
I quite like layout 1 but what you have done in-tank is great. Looks like you will have good flow and as you said, plenty of hiding spots. Love it.

05-29-2011, 11:29 AM
Looks great Gem. You have some live rock to get that sucker going? lol

05-29-2011, 02:00 PM
Looks good

I like how you stacked the rock

05-29-2011, 03:44 PM
Nifty cool, gemmy :)


Hi ya Dave!!!!!!! I've missed talkin to you!!!! Thanks for the "nifty cool".

05-29-2011, 03:51 PM
Looks great Gem. You have some live rock to get that sucker going? lol

Thanks Brad. Everything that went into this tank was transferred over from the 110 except the sand and rock. The water is 60% water from the 110 and 40% fresh mixed. I stacked a bunch of live rock from the 110 in the sump for the first couple weeks and there's a softball sized chunk with my solitaryensis on it in the display tank as well. (blush)

05-29-2011, 03:57 PM
I quite like layout 1 but what you have done in-tank is great. Looks like you will have good flow and as you said, plenty of hiding spots. Love it.

Thanks Taz. Yeah, I measured out the square on the wood to the outside dimensions of the tank. OOPS. That layout just didn't work the same in the tank. There didn't seem to be enough room in there. I was very careful when taking the structure apart to lay them out on the ground in a manner so that I would remember exactly how they were on the board. Somehow, hanging over the tank looking down into the water makes stacking them a little more difficult. Anyway....that's what I ended up with. But, it still looks pretty cool, expeciall in person. Pics tend to not show all the details.

Thanks for the compliment Cliff.

05-29-2011, 04:10 PM
A clear water picture taken this morning. Need to get in there today with a tube of IC gel and glue some corals. Not going to glue too much down as the house I'm currently renting is now in the process of forclosure. I'm sure I have a few months before the bank asks me to vacate, but I will be moving. I'm in the process of looking for a condo to buy.


05-30-2011, 02:23 AM
Tank is looking amazing, Gem! I really love that layout. What sort of corals are going in? And good luck looking for a new place! I know enough about moving to know it's a pain to find the right place.

05-30-2011, 05:05 PM
The corals I already have are a few acan Lordes, frog spawn, hammer, zoas, palys, favia, a tyree green toadstool, Solitaryensis, setosa.

I have a mix of everything, sps, soft, and lps.

I plan to add a lot more in the future. But I'll be limiting how much I add until after I move. I'm not sure when I'll be moving as it depends on 2 things.
How much longer before the bank comes to my door and throws me out of this house, and how long till I find a condo to buy and close escrow.