Design Phase

I’m only 3 days into this build and it’s already been somewhat overwhelming. I have plenty equipment to choose from, but making it all fit in the stand is proving to be interesting. It looks like I’ll end up having to stack my two main pumps with one of them being on a shelf above the other. Hopefully this doesn’t put too much vibrations into the stand and cause extra noise.

I got a price quote for the steel for the stand. $1.20/ft. That’s cheaper than I initially predicted. The coworker helping me build the stand wants to add more braces. Since the braces are 6″ each, that means each one only costs me 60 cents.

My other problem is the lighting. I have 2 different lighting setups at my disposal; neither of which are perfect. I have an IceCap 660-09 ballast with VHO endcaps, but those tend to run hot. I also have 2 very large 8 bulb T5 lights, but they’re 48″ long with the higher wattage ballasts. I only need 24″ T5’s.

I’m currently leaning towards tearing apart one of the T5 fixtures and seeing if I can replace the ballasts with 24″/24w ones. If I can do that, then I can build my own hood with the much shorter bulbs. I should be able to reuse all the end caps and reflectors from the current light housings.

The tank is still holding water in the back yard. It looks like all the seals are still good. It also looks like PetCO currently has their Aragonite sand on sale for nearly half off. I’m tempted to go ahead and go purchase it. If I did the math right, I need 187lbs to fill a 30″x30″ cube 4″ deep.

So far, I’ve only bought a few plumbing supplies to help with the equipment design. Eventually I’ll have to start buying the small bits and pieces to finish the design. I also need to replace a few parts from some of the equipment I have like the RO/DI filters and the PH probe.

Until the next update: Keep your fish swimming!