The Crazzy Cube 335


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What started as a tragedy turned into a project to start my new 335 cube tank. Now I won't admit to starting the tragedy, but it sure made convincing my wife to get the new tank a lot easier. It is not quite my dream tank, but she would quite let me tear down the walls between the living room and bedroom. So I decided to settle while she was still saying yes.

Well some people wouldn't call it settling. We are replacing the tragic 140 gallon tank with the 335 which is 60 x 36 x 36.

So back to the tragedy that started it all . . . and for those of you who think I may have started it all to get the new tank, I wasn't even home when the major problems started. . .

So guys, believe it or not, I was very lucky. When I met my wife, she actually owned a 140 gallon reef tank on her own and was already addicted into the hobby. Now she loved fish, had too many for the size of tank, and corals were mostly softies. I figured it was a great start.

Now the TRAGEDY begins. . .

First the sump had a leak, so I had to tear down the filtration and we ran the tank sumpless with air stones for a month until it all came back together.

Next, we went on vacation and had a friend watch the tank. The day before we returned home, the temperature went way into the 100's and we had not put the air on before we left. When we arrived home the corals had started to melt. The cucumber died and combined with other things, toxins were being released. No amount of water changes were working, just about the time we were going to strip out the tank a seam released and in one day our decision was made, we needed a new tank. We lost $1,000's of dollars in corals and fish, but I told my wife that the only way to turn this mishap into a happy ending was to double the size of the next tank - and she bought it - I am a lucky man . . .

So hear is the plan that I put in motion while wearing a sad face as the tank was melting . . .

A large cube-like tank
20 foot wet neck auto flush protein skimmer for efficiency
Surge installed in rafters of the roof to create a tidal wave effect
Cryptic zone for sponge filter
Large sump to handle over flow
Relay System running off a laptop
Reef Controller System for basic monitoring and logging
Commercial automated valves to control all aspects of the flow
200 gal fresh water storage tank, and 150 for salt with auto top off
Chiller to prevent melt downs - ooops
Calcium reactor
Kalk reactor
Phosphate reactor
Algae scrubber

Well that is what I came up with in my head - a little more sophisticated than what my wife had. But when you are going for it, and she says yes, you go for it.

And so it begins . . . .


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From San Fran to LA and back, a new tank is coming home. . . .

I found the ideal tank on Reef Central. It is a 60 x 36 x 36 cube, however, it was located in LA and we are in the Bay area. Was it going to be worth renting a truck and driving 7 hours each way to pick it up? Sure - all in the name of reefing.

The tear down went smooth, and after about 6 hour we were on the road again. About 400 lbs of live rock was in garbage cans, and some great fish were in another garbage can with a bump going. The pump was powered by a portable gas generator that we had strapped to the back of the truck. When stopping for gas, we filled the generator as well.

With this project, I wanted to start to make my own water vs. buying natural sea water The last time we had the water tested, the only thing that came up good was the salinity. The calc, alk, ph, phosphates, etc were all off, and the LFS said that is why they make their own. After doing some research, the salt that I believe is most balanced is H2O Ocean which is available online at $100 a bucket shipped. In LA the selection is much greater, so on the way home we picked up 27 buckets at a price of $50 a bucket including tax. I now have a year + supply before the next supply trip to LA.

When we got home, we went directly to our local LFS who had agreed to hold the fish and corals until we were ready. When we opened the garbage can, the pump was defective, and had stopped working. All the fish except a black clown and 2 cardinals were dead. Some amazing rose anemones were fine along with most of the corals. 2 days later the LFS had a melt down and the roses polluted the tank killing off everything. Talk about bad luck . . It is back to square one "“ no fish, no corals.

When we finally got the tank home, the unload process needed to be creative. The tank is too wide to fit through any door, however, in the back of the house we have double door sliders. If I could just get the tank into the backyard, we would be fine. So how do you get a huge tank through a side gate, around the air conditioner into the back? Some creativity please. . .

We had loaded the tank into the truck in LA on top of its stand. We strapped the tank and stand together. We unloaded it the same way. With dollies, we rolled the tank and stand through the gate up to the air conditioner. With plants along the side, there was no way to get around the air conditioner. So I rolled the 140 gallon stand from the back yard to the other side of the air conditioner. We then slid the tank from one stand to the next passing over the air conditioner. It took 4 guys to move the tank to back yard "“ not bad.

The original stand was made with MDF and with water spill, was not really safe, so I will be making a new stand as well. The new stand will be made of 1 1/8 plywood epoxied together to make a total of 2 ½ inch plywood boards. It is being covered with cherry veneer to match the kitchen cabinets. Doors will need to be custom ordered for the unique sizes that we need. However, I am ordering the stain and black glaze of the existing kitchen cabinets.

Next: Buffing out some major scratches in the acrylic and building the stand


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The Salt supply...


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The doors will be coming. However the stand is designed like a sealed bathtub - in the event of a leak, nothing can escape to the floor. The stand has a 6 inch rim all the way around and is completed sealed using apoxy used for marine boats, so it cannot penetrate the wood. We then installed automobile carpet as a sound barrier.


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Now thats a salt supply, lol. The tank cleand up nice and I will be looking foward to watching your tank come together.


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I bought a lift yesterday, so the tank is being dry fitted, at the moment Im working on the skimmer, it is already built, but im installing a needle wheel pump to see if it does a better job than the air stones, I wil take pictures this evening of the skimmer build.


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The Skimmer... Its a beast... produces 5 gal foam a day, dumps automatically in the sewage line while the fumes are expelled through the roof vent. Two lab grade air stones are powered by a continuous duty food grade compressor, the skimmate level is regulated by the amount of compressed air in the chamber. The Water enters from the top, this I found to be beneficial in many ways, first if the pump shuts off, the skimmer water will not drain back in the tank over loading into the sump, it also gives it a wet neck and keeps the neck clean, I placed a dump switch on the pump, it releases a blast of air into the cylinder expelling 30 gal per second allowing a quick water change. The water will be emptied into a algae scrubber and then dumped back into the tank through a series of automatic valves. The valves are due to arrive sometime next week. In the mean time I will be hooking up the rest of the plumbing and as soon as the stain comes I will finish the cabinet.

Well here is some of the pics of the skimmer


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I went with PVC because of the problems associated with acrylic, its stronger and can be taken apart with ease. With this size the optimum size is right around 33' , unfortunately I don't have a 3 story home at the moment, so the max build is just under 20' it gives me a 75% efficiency rate.

The bubble rise is counter current , slowing the rise rate, The bubbles have a chance of forming solid bubbles attracting not only organics but non-organic matter as they rise, clearing the tank of toxins and even metals. I believe i still have a calculator to rate an efficiency of any skimmer if someone needs it I will post it.


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Wow. Everything is coming along nicely and looking real good.
Mind if I ask where in L.A you made all of your purchases from ?


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Thanks Blue... Ill try to make it to the swap to say hi..

Pips, I will ask my wife when she wakes up, I dont sleep.. all I do is work on the tank... it was bought wholesale from a LFS, Ill pm you with the info, they had a lot of vary expensive gear at rock bottom pricing, they are trying to force the others around them out of business.

I cant wait to get the rocks and water in the tank... its killing me to see the tank up, but I know it will be some time till its all together...