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TOPIC: Ray U's 300 DD build - reef redux

Ray U's 300 DD build - reef redux 4 years 1 month ago #156178

  • rgulrich
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After some prompting from my significant partner in this adventure, I figured I'd try to get the story going with this build. I've been told a few folks might be interested in what I've done and what went into some of my decision making process in the design and assembly.

First off, I've been involved with aquaria of one sort or another for, um, about 45+ years. Pretty much ever since my first goldfish in a bowl I won with a pingpong ball toss as a kid. I've been fascinated with sea life since I first fed a crushed mussel to a sea anemone on Gaviota Beach as a diaper-clad toddler. Please don't ask for pics of that.

My adventures have taken me to both coasts of the U.S., the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and a couple other spots where I could stick my face in the water for some extended period and see what was running around. I've sealed stainless steel slate bottom aquariums with silicone to house the hermit crabs and toad fish caught on the mudflats, and even had an aquarium built in Athens to house some of the returns from my wading and snorkeling adventures off the coast of Greece. I'm not an expert, but rather a hobbyist that reads a lot, and I gain a tremendous amount of enjoyment from the time I spend with this hobby.

This build I decided to call an end to pretty much all of the "experimentation" I've been doing through the years, and focus on display aquarium that would be quiet, pleasing to the eye, and most of all, keep the inhabitants happy and healthy. I purchased the aquarium and stand in the summer of 2013 with the full intent of getting it up and running by Fall. Well, I met the date, but the location changed pretty abruptly. More on that later.

If you have the patience to take this walk in the following pages, please feel free to join in. I hope you have as much fun with this as I am!

Cheers,
Ray
Ray U
300 gallon Deep Dimension/360 degree walk-around living room reef
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Ray U's 300 DD build - reef redux 4 years 1 month ago #156179

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http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=610

Day one, the new 300DD next to a retiring Oceanic 225, with the 180 reef it is destined to replace on the right. All snugly situated in the basement.

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=611
The 300 DD front-on, just fitting in the space planned for it. Knowing that I can’t reach the back of an aquarium with a 36” reach and 27” depth (at least when there’s water in it), I decided to design this build to have at least two feet of space around the back and sides. This would be enough to fit a foot stool and yours truly if work need to be done in the aquarium or servicing under it.

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=612
The custom built sump, carefully measured to fit into the stand through one of the end access panels (the Deep Dimension stand end panels slide out to provide access) and accommodate the things I wanted to be able to do in there. Also, the new algae filtration system I designed to help clean up the water. The skimmer is and RLSS DB10-I, and is modular – i.e. it breaks down into three separate parts. After discussion with the manufacturer, we decided it would –just- fit under the stand and over the edge of the sump I designed. Of course, it also needed to be re-assembled underneath the aquarium, and that went without a hitch. Had a good half inch or so to spare, too!

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=613
Here’s the skimmer base as it fit into the sump. A snug fit, but we did have some room to spare.
Ray U
300 gallon Deep Dimension/360 degree walk-around living room reef
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Ray U's 300 DD build - reef redux 4 years 1 month ago #156182

  • csal1-175
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Looking good !!
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Ray U's 300 DD build - reef redux 4 years 1 month ago #156184

  • Tesker84
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Sweet setup!
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Ray U's 300 DD build - reef redux 4 years 1 month ago #156185

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(This somehow ended up being a double post - deleted)
Ray U
300 gallon Deep Dimension/360 degree walk-around living room reef
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Ray U's 300 DD build - reef redux 4 years 1 month ago #156186

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Thanks folks!
This has been a blast putting together, let me tell you!
Here's a few more bits:

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=614

Here’s the skimmer assembled in the sump – with a few inches to the top of the stand. This provides enough room to mount a sheet of acrylic (to protect from blow off from the top of the skimmer) and maintain lighting. The lighting is strip LED lighting I ordered out of a shop in AZ. Custom cut lengths, strong sticky backing. These are great for under cabinet lighting in the kitchen (yep, replaced those Halogen pucks) and under aquarium lighting in the fish room. No heat, low voltage, low wattage, amazingly bright task lighting. (I wasn’t using a flash for the picture).

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=615

Woops, hey! How did we get here?! Oh, yeh, well…my significant other and I had been house hunting, and this little place popped up one evening. The next morning we walked through with our agent, and my sweetheart said (without missing a step) “…and you reef would go right here” and kept walking. I, of course, stumbled. Long story short, we bought the place, moved a whole bunch of stuff over, including the new aquarium. I still had to finish cleaning up and painting my old house for renting, oh, and shut down the 180 gallon reef. At any rate, here’s the 300 in its current home. Two feet behind and to the left, and from the way the architecture sits, it looks like it was built for it.

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=642

Speaking of built for it, here’s why we had a discussion with a structural engineer –before- we filled the aquarium with water. Aquarium empty weighs about 400lbs (big chunk of glass), stand and canopy total another hundred or so. Oh, add about 2500lbs for water and rock. I was glad we had the main beam (seen in this photo) quite literally under one end. The engineer recommended we put in four jack stands each supporting a pair of 2 X 6s spanning floor supports to each side (front and back, that is) of the aquarium. From this perspective, you are quite literally looking down the length of the aquarium from the left side, and it’s weight is pretty much centered on the jack stands. Plan ahead for the weight before you build – it can save a lot of heartache (and headaches) later.
The 2 inch Flex PVC water lines dropping through the bottom of the stand are visible here coming down between the jack stands.

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=643

Here’s the 2 inch Flex PVC routed from the crawl space, through the heating oil tank room, down into what I’m using as the filter room. Yes, I could have run it pretty much straight through from where they dropped through the floor of the living room, but I would have had to punch holes through the foundation cinder block to accommodate these lines – something I wasn’t too keen on doing. I used vinyl straps where I thought I should to provide a little extra support for the PVC/provide strain relief on any glue joints.

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=616

Speaking of strain reliefs…here’s some vinyl strapping supporting the top side of my modified “Herbie” intake manifold. I cut two pieces of one inch flex PVC //in the exact same length//, centered this hole in the stand (and yes, measured underneath to ensure I wasn’t hitting a floor support), and then cut a hole through the ash floor, the subfloor, and heaven know what else. I’m patient, had a new (I think) 2 ½ inch cutting bit to accommodate the PVC diameter, plenty of time to kill. About a half hour per hole, constantly clearing and vacuuming out the shavings. At least we have spare ash if the aquarium ever gets shut down, moved, or somesuch.
I originally put this valve here (I thought) in case I ever need to adjust the flow of the siphon. I put another at the sump, and simply adjust it down there instead. It takes a little getting used to, but once I figured out some of the idiosyncrasies of the system, it really like having a pretty darn quiet overflow in the living room. The only sound I really get from this system is the occasional water dripping into the overflow.
The couplings are there not to drop the PVC through the floor, but to provide access in case anything ever gets jammed in the plumbing. The possibility of that happening is pretty remote. (the suspense builds) Details to be provided later.

http://www.cmas-md.org/forums/picture.php?albumid=79&pictureid=617
Here’s an end view from the right side of the aquarium toward the back of the stand, with one of my Belgian Shepherd supervisors looking on.
Ray U
300 gallon Deep Dimension/360 degree walk-around living room reef
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