600 gallon Acrylic and Glass Reef Construction.


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As most of you know my 600g tank developed a really small leak in January 2008. WHile the leak was pretty small I had no option but to just bite the bullet and drain the tank. All the corals and fish went into barrels until new homes could be found for them.

For those who havent seen my old tank....here is how she looked:






Immediately after finding the leak this is how it looked:


I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain a spare frag tank from Dustin (of zoanuts.com) and make lots of frags of my nicer corals. I then took over my office:


I know many of you guys offered help and took many of my corals. Thankyou all.

The fish were moved to a spare 220g tank that was loaned to me as well.



Well its been 5 months and I am getting ready to begin all over again. A new tank, a new filtration system and lots of changes.

The break has also allowed me to concentrate on a number of other projects as well, such as the bar in the tank viewing room.
Hows that Whitesnake song go again?

But really, I think you and I both have tossed around more ideas for flow, lighting, filters, chillers, ect. to write a book by now. Look forward to the progression.

BTW, to those who haven't seen the tank viewing room, it is simply superb.
Sadly, during the move I lost my clown tang

and the 4 line wrasse


and the copperband butterfly,

A lot of fish I gave away, such as the chromis and the royal grammas.

The rest seem to be doing pretty well spread among 3 tanks.
I also think the stress of the moving caused my rose bubbles to go crazy and split.....I now have 7 of them, all doing well. here are 2 of them, the one on the left is actually splitting...


(sorry about the camera jiggle)

Most of the corals i decided to keep have done well, with the exception of the more delicate ones such as the blue tort and the rose milli....a pity, but they can be replaced (I hope).
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wow, cant wait for this build Paul!! Sorry to hear about the losses. I think all of them were awesome fish, clown tank......enough said! The four line, I believed it spawned didnt it? and i know its a feat to get a copperband to live and thrive. Agian I cant wait for this one!!
In the down time I have been working with a manufacturer on a completely new style of tank- a hybrid Acrylic and Glass system (more on that later) and have spent time finishing the bar I had begun building prior to the tank leak.

The night we actually noticed the leak (or I should say, Lynn noticed the leak) I was laying out the top and bottom layer of a bar I was building for the fish room. I had just made temporary legs to lift the top layer into position and was figuring the next step when the leak was spotted. Of course construction stooped immediately and most of you had to wriggle by the 2x4 pine studs arrayed to the right of the barrels when viewing the corals.

the outline can be seen in this picture:

Well, since then I have had the time to complete the construction and lay the granite top.

Heres how she looks;


I did the woodworking to match the tank surround, though it is likely I will now completely redo the new tank surround to take into account the slightly smaller viewing panel.
AS I posted a few days ago, the new tank is ready for pickup.

The last tank was an acrylic tank, as new it was truly beautiful and absolutely clear. Many people told me to go glass for fear of scratches but the weight was incredible for a tank that size. Hence the acrylic.

I was determined to keep it clean and avoid scratching it....no magnets, new cloths, soaked pads to remove calcium traces etc.

The first time I cleaned it I caught a grain of sand and left a scratch. This was pretty much repeated over the 3 years of owning the tank and depressed me to the point I vowed to swap the tank one day for a glass fronted one.

Well....thats what I ultimately decided to do with the new tank.

Originally I was thinking of a fiberglass body with a glass front. Having talked to a tank designer/builder we decided to try a hybrid tank.

The premise is really quite simple. You can not glue glass to acrylic, but you can seal it. So....he built a tank almost identical to my old one, all out of acrylic. This time the front and back panel are of black acrylic. During construction, the middle of the front panel was cut back out to leave an approxiamte 2 inch strip all the way round. On the inside of this a special silicon is used and a panel of starfire glass placed, inside the tank, and sealed to the rim of acrylic. the result....a lightweight acrylic tank with a starfire front. the best of both worlds.

I know I posted pics of the tank a few days ago in a separate thread, but here they are again:

this is the back - just prior to fitting the overflows and sealing the top down,


and this is the front- fully assembled tank

the following are a few pics of the back panel being made.




Hopefully from the the top two pictures you can see the recessed glass panel and acrylic flange all the way round.
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It will be a few weeks before I actually go to pick up the tank, but till then I have several more tasks to complete.

One is the conversion of half of my garage to a filter room for the system.

I have a basic idea of how it will all work out. Essentially I will add a curtain wall that closes off the top half of the garage. In this area will be 4 150g rubbermaid barrels. One will be the main sump and will be just water. From this the return pump will feed back to the tank, and to the other barrels. Another will be closed off and contain a deep sand bed and about 200lbs of LR, in the dark. Another will host a refugium, with no sand (probably)...just caulerpa. The final one will be plumbed in such a way that it can be taken off line, drained, refilled and salt added, then put back online for easy 150g water changes.

Above all of these will be shelves for the frag tanks and the phytoplankton stations. Ultimately I want to attempt to breed fish, so the shelves will come in very handy.

The garge will be airconditioned and humidity controlled.
I also plan to build an evaporative chiller to help remove heat in a cost effective manner.

heres the planned layout... not very exciting, but a base for you to see how it progresses/changes with time.


The sump is fed from the overflows from the tank which sits the other side of the wall to the left.
The other thing I am working into the system is one of the new Reefkeepers 9the Reefkeeper Elite- RKE) from Digital Aquatics. I have the older RKII controlling my frag tanks and its a superb unit. This new one promises to be even better.

It is a newly designed system, just released and i was fortunate to get in on the preorder. It arrived today and I have had time to just play with it.

this is the control interface:


and here is the complete system.


this unit can regulate power in 200+ outlets and monitor multiple tanks at once. It also has wireless and ethernet capability as well. I cant wait to get this working and really test it out.

Well.....thats where things stand for now. Once I have a firm date for picking the tank I will post and hopefully some of you may be available to help move the beast into the house and get her set on the stand. Of course....we can try the new bar out then as well.....

wow paul, you have quite the task ahead of you. im interested to see the room pan out, i so wish i had the space available for this. you mentioned shelves and what not for frag tanks, does that mean this will replace your back room set up? the water change idea as part of the entire garage system too is going to be sooo nice, talk about a convenient way to do water changes. The lay out of the room should make things easy to work with and the layout in front with the bar looks very cool. ive been hearing about this bar thing for a while, and it has turned out very nicely. it will definately make a great feature for a tank viewing room. hope that new elite model works out for this beast, it looks interesting and i cant wait to see more of the build. you have a lot to aim for but im sure it will be no problem. hows the aquascaping plan looking? btw, i expect to see it as another TOTM soon, this one should be way better.

and as i mentioned in your other pic thread, good luck with it!
Shows how little time I get to browse the forums anymore, I didn't know you had a leak. The new tank looks awesome and I'm looking forward to following its construction. Good luck Paul.
Now you've got us all excited! I'm so happy that something great is coming out of your losses. I'm so sorry you lost those fish..I know they were favorites.

Just keep us up to date and let us know if we can help out in any way. (even if you need us to distract Lynn while you sneak something in ;) )

this looks like it will be an awesome project. Why couldnt you just repair the leak in the old tank? Or was it just a good excuse to replace the acrylic tank?
Looks great Paul. What fun to get to put it all together again with new ideas. Enjoy......
Awesome Paul! I like the idea of the tub that can be shut off for water changes. I might work that into my system.
I liked it too.

And so easy to do.

A drain in the bottom, and T feeding it. Stop the flow into the barrel, redirect flow to the next inline, Drain and replace with fresh saltwater, return the flow...simple.
Looks like it's going to be an awsome tank. Hope I can see it in person one of these days. Never saw your other one in person.