Elos build thread


After almost 6 years"¦I'm back! Found a deal here on RC and it was the prefect excuse to get started again. Definitely not plug n play so the write up is a bit long. Anyway, this great deal came with some caveats. First and foremost, the silicone seals at the front top corners had separated from the side panels. Right side the silicone had separated about 8" long from the top and the left side about 4". This was going to be a project.

After identifying the issue a quick search online netted some similar examples with older Elos tanks. Seams separating"¦scary. Good news is it appeared to be repairable so I took a chance. I also reached out to Elos America and asked why these older tanks were having issues. Their response was due to poor cabinet/stand design. Apparently they were sagging/warping so there was a lot of stress on the glass. In this case, the silicone cleanly separated from the glass so I suspect something else, maybe contamination on the glass during assembly? Anyway, their recommend repair was to remove all of the offending silicone 1" down past the bottom of the separation, then fill back up with new silicone. Apparently Elos has a proprietary silicone and after some back and forth gave up trying to get it from Elos. However, based on my research most 100% acetoxy based silicones would be suitable.

Once I got the tank home I cleaned and prepped the tank for repair. These larger Elos tanks have double pane bottoms which is great but the outer panels do not sit flush with the bottom panel and extends a bit. This means all the weight is on the outer panel edges. I wonder if this contributed to some of these earlier failures. Anyway, nothing a quick trip to Walmart couldn't fix. I used two Ozark foam camping pads to help even out the load between the bottom of the tank and the stand. Fingers crossed.

It took a couple days of pondering how i was going to approach the repair. Once i had a plan i gathered all my supplies and tools. I forgot to take a picture but I could clearly see the air gap where the silicone had separated from the glass. First I flushed the gap with IPA using a syringe. Luckily, the tiny corner bead of silicone on the inside of the tank was intact so water/salt/debris didn't actually contaminate the gap. I flushed both side several times then used a thin flat tool to carefully wipe the gap with lint free polishing cloth to ensure it was clean and dry. At the same time I was looking at all sorts of silicone. Without going into details, I ended up picking Gorilla glue 100% silicone. Of course my primary concern was how well this silicone would seal the gap and bond to the old silicone and glass. Coincidentally, the bottom of the tank had some original silicone residue that I was able to scrape off. I used this chunk of this silicone to test the bonding properties with the new silicone. I placed a dab of the Gorilla glue on the old silicone and let it cure. At the same time I also placed a dab on the tank glass. After a few days of curing I was surprised to see the new silicone had bonded well to the old. I cut the sample in half to see a cross section of the bond area and it appeared to be fused, although I know it was just a surface bond. Bond to the glass was also strong. With this increased level of confidence I thought"¦maybe I can just "œsquirt" the new silicone into the gap without having to completely remove the old silicone. Okay change of plan. I filled a syringe with a little bit of clear gorilla glue trying to keep the blob of silicone as solid as possible to avoid any excess air bubbles. I don't remember what size applicator tip I used, but I gently squeezed the tip with pliers to ovalize it so it was easier to insert into the gap. I also used my aforementioned flat tool as a "œtongue depressor" to help open the gap. Starting from the bottom, I filled the gap being careful not to introduce any bubbles. If there was a bubble, I just kept squeezing until the bubble was pushed out. FYI, trying to push silicone out of a syringe through a tiny applicator tip is very hard! Once I got to the top I wiped the outside with my finger like you would caulk to smooth out the glue. Hard part done! I debated stripped the inside bead of silicone and re-sealing but it looked intact so decided against it lest I make it worse.

Moment of truth! After letting the silicone cure for around a week I filled with water. Out of curiosity I wanted to check the displacement of the front panel once filled with water. Using a dial indicator attached to the side panel, the front panel moved about 0.001" with water. I'm good with that. I could actually move the panel a lot more with just my hand so that tells me there's not a lot of pressure on the seam up top. I let it sit for a few more days then moved on to the next step.

After confirming no leaks I drained and worked on polishing out the etched waterline. I used a Dremel with felt buffing wheel and some cerium oxide paste. This actually wasn't has hard as I thought it would be. I used the lowest speed and polished back and forth in 4-6 inch sections. here you can see the difference after polishing the left panel and the water etching on the back panel.

Out of curiosity I tried it on some small scratches but didn't make a dent. I imagine if you started with coarser git and spent A LOT of time it would make a difference but not worth my time.

I refilled again to rinse the paste and the final leak test.

To be continued...
Elos build thread

So you didn't rip the tank down and re-silicone the whole tank? Just injected gorilla glue into the seam.

Hope this ends well, I'm going to tell you tho every tank manufacturer will tell you this is not prop and you should have had the tank re-built/re-sealed.

May I suggest you should at least add a eurobrace. To help hold the tank together.

Hope I don't come off sounding like a hater.

I my self just re-built a lee-mar 187 after buying it and noticing bad seams with air bubbles. But unlike you I tore the tank down completely and re-siliconed the whole thing. I could imagine 180+ gallons of salt water on the floor of my house just cause I took the cheap way out.
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I hear ya...I had the same concerns but I put some thought into this. Trust me, I'm not just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best (well actually this too). Considering the location and condition of the gap and in no small part the recommendation from Elos and my technical background I have hi confidence this will hold. KNOCKING HEAVILY ON WOOD!
Time to move the tank into the house! Once I got the tank inside I lowered the stand onto some Teflon skids so I could slide it into place. The skids would also act as permanent feet to prevent the metal stand from scratching/dinging the wood floor. Once I got the tank into position I leveled it using some creative blocking and a bottle jack.

Next I added the sand, around 180lbs of new dry aragonite. Rinsing this was a PITA! It just never seemed to rinse clean. Screw it, it's going in. After leveling out the sand I slowly filled with RO/DI then the salt. Even after rinsing the sand and trickle filling the tank with RO/DI the water was still cloudy for a week. Adding a 100micron filter sock helped clear it up.

Next I scaped with dry "œused" rock that was rinsed and cooked for a few weeks. I forgot to weigh, but probably around 100lbs. I also added a couple bottles of Bio-Spira.

After a couple weeks I added a cleanup crew from Reef Cleaners. They shipped in a USPS priority box, loosely packaged in foil bubble wrap in individual bags with a wet paper towel. As soon as i opened the box it smelled like death but they insisted snails take time to acclimate. Hermits were okay minus a few DOA, dwarf ceriths okay. Astrea snails all DOA. Nassarius snails looked like empty shells. I think there was one live one. Florida ceriths about 50% survived. In all it stunk up my water and made it cloudy from all the dead snails. After day 3 I ended up pulling the dead Astreas out and I almost puked how bad they smelled. I threw a bag of carbon into the sump to help clean out the smell. Nasty.

Pile of dead snails

Empty shells?

They refunded me $45 which i don't think was enough but didn't want to bother. Maybe it was because they're shipping cross country? No matter, probably won't be ordering from them again.

After the water cleared up from this mess I ordered some pods and phyto from Algae Barn. I started with dry rock and sand so i wanted to start seeding the tank. Package arrived in a few days and wow, this was a quality shipment! Night and day compared to reef cleaners. I float acclimated the jars then at night i carefully lowered them into the tank next to the rocks and opened the lids. Luckily the plastic jars are negatively buoyant so i was able to just lay them on or next to the rock overnight. In the morning I pulled out the jars and rinsed with tank water to make sure I got all of them out. I also started dosing phyto in the morning and evening.

Separately I had 12 chromis in QT in a bucket first with safety stop then prazi.

In terms of lighting i wanted something as unobstructing as possible. I had great success with my previous tank and a 8x54w powermodule but wanted a "cleaner" look for this tank.

I found a set of used Kessil A360x's and they fit the bill nicely. They're mounted temporarily just to get a feel for position then I'll make a custom bracket to make them appear to float and to hide all the cables.

Looking awesome. I really like that 2 island look, gonna look amazing with coral growth.

Great looking build
I got cerith snails from reef cleaners before and they keep climbing outside the tank.
Looking awesome. I really like that 2 island look, gonna look amazing with coral growth.
Great looking build

thanks! I need a little more rock to fill in the back and maybe a tad bit taller. I really love the deeper tanks. I have enough structure for corals and also open space for the fish to swim, not only side to side but front to back.

I got cerith snails from reef cleaners before and they keep climbing outside the tank.

yeah me too, but that was always the case when I introduce new snails to my tanks regardless where i get them. I ended up getting some nassarius from a LFS and I can hear them dropping to the floor while we're watching TV. Wife's like "what was that?" Im like "nothing...i'll be right back" lol. Eventually they seem to take to the tank.
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Recommend banded trochus snails - I have them breeding in my tank so I don’t have to replace them.
black foot banded trochus snails.. best snails ever. I bought 50 and they have been breeding for years. some are size of silver dollars

good looking tank!
Welcome back. Been awhile since seeing your name pop up on Here!! Good luck with your build

Brent it's been a long time buddy! Hope all is well. Man, i miss your BBQ sandwiches...look forward to catching up soon and grubbing on your food. Do you still have a tank?
Brent it's been a long time buddy! Hope all is well. Man, i miss your BBQ sandwiches...look forward to catching up soon and grubbing on your food. Do you still have a tank?

Hey Brian. Yup still have a tank. Same 125 lol... but we ow own a 1 acre ranch in East Palmdale. Got lotsa goats, chickens and pigs so I don't have time for anything else so my tanks definitely suffering. And I definitely still bbq as much as I can. Still have the same number?
Hey Brian. Yup still have a tank. Same 125 lol... but we ow own a 1 acre ranch in East Palmdale. Got lotsa goats, chickens and pigs so I don't have time for anything else so my tanks definitely suffering. And I definitely still bbq as much as I can. Still have the same number?

Glad to hear you're doing well and the ranch sounds like a lot of fun! Yup, same number.
trying to catch up on updates... The tank came with an old Elos glass sump that I don't like but was anxious to get the tank going so I am using it temporarily until I can figure out my optimal layout. Plan is to order a custom sump later on. I recall in the past most of the noise came from the sump area and was used to vibration and humming noise from the older AC pumps. In an effort to isolate the sump area I made the base in three layers"¦the first layer touching the floor is a memory type foam, then plywood, and finally closed cell foam.

This sits inside the pocket of the stand and does not touch the frame. Next the sump has trim around the bottom which suspends the bottom panel. I thought oh great this is going to resonate like a speaker so I added vibration/sound deadening adhesive mat just to the bottom panel (on the outside of course). In retrospect, these new DC pumps are so quiet and vibration free I don't know if I needed to do all this. The return pump is dead silent and the skimmer is virtually silent as well. I can't even feel the power cord vibrate close to the pump.

Next was the plumbing. Im not sure what Elos was thinking when they designed their drain/return but it left me scratching my head. This is a pretty old tank so I suppose everything was kinda hokie back then? Anyway, as-is it was quite noisy. Gurgling and water splashing reminiscent of years past. I didn't feel like drilling or adding overflows so I had to work with what I had. Using the existing 1-1/2 drain, I added a gate valve about half way down and reduced to 1" This was my modified "œherbie" drain. Took some dialing in but the drain is silent now. Yes I know what you're thinking and I thought about that too. Plan is the use the existing return as the back up drain and added a "œU" tube for the return. As an additional level of safety I have an optical water sensor that will either shutoff or reduce the flow of the return pump if the water level rises in the display. Also have a floor leak sensor.

Temporary plumbing to make sure everything works as intended. Will clean it up and probably hard plumb some of it when I get a new sump.

this is the stock plumbing up top

the ball joint on the U tube was too thick so i have to chop it off and couple with a piece of 1" tube and secured with zip ties.

then i cut a few of the grates to allow the nozzle to fit through. Snug fit but works!

finished product. I cut the elbow of the old return and turned it up to the water level as a emergency/surface skim drain.

separately, my pod population is exploding. This is just a 1" area i captured with a loupe. All the inside glass surface is covered in pods.

I added a few more pieces of rock...i like how it's turning out and love the shimmer of the Kessils. Makes me feel like Im SCUBA diving/snorkeling. Pictures don't do it justice.

and the rats nest. I'll planning out my equipment board now. Thinking towards the back of the "dry side" of the stand with a hinged / swing out board to access the cables in back. The reality is it'll probably stay like this for awhile lol.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! My post turkey day project was to wire a dedicated circuit for the tank. This has been on my to-do list at least two tanks ago. Unfortunately the existing circuit is shared with the kitchen so depending on time of day (lights 100%, chiller or heater etc) and appliances being used the breaker can trip. Lucky for me, my service panel is literally a few feet away on the outside wall. I cut an access hole on the inside and fished the wire through the wall down to the floor. The wire laid perfectly in the expansion gap with no interference with the base board. Then back up to the new outlet box. I also folded the wire on both ends to allow some extra length if i needed to re-work in the future. I had space in my panel so decided to use two separate GFCI protected circuits, one on each 120 phase.

So far the corals I have in the tank are doing well and starting to color up. Now I just need to find a QT tank so i can start adding more fish!

I might as well join the party too. Brian, its been a very long time. Congrats on the tank. Looking like a great start, except the dead snail issue.