Nick Shades' Aqua Japan 21.7g

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#1
This is my new build.

Current status: (will change every couple of updates)
4/13/19

Got sick again this week. Learned it was allergies.

Managed to get some crap done today, regardless.

Im fricking tired.

 
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I started this build when I won the tank in January during the semi annual grand raffle at the SCAPE Meet at Lotus Aquarium in Hawthorne.

It was the first prize drawn, and jokingly, I yelled, "it's pronounced Nick Shades." Right after, Kole, the SCAPE President looked me dead in the eye among the crowd of over 100 and said, "Nick, get up here." I had to see the ticket, it really was me.


I got this idea about 3 years ago. No in-tank overflow chamber, a display with a sump that is larger than the DT. The return and overflow drilled through existing glass and into the live rock. I still have not got it running, but for the most part, everything is working the way that, I want it to, to a certain degree.

I originally planned on building the stand from scratch, but after playing with the pre fabricated options available, I settled on the Brooklyn 40B from Imagitarium/Petco. ~40 bucks. It is metal, and pretty easy to put together, it would allow me to focus more in the skin.





The first thing I did after putting together the stand was figuring out how I was going to drill the stand. I have done 1/2" bulkheads for canister filters on fw nanos and I was very satisfied with what they had going on in their limited capacity for a nano, and how little real estate they take up when they have been drilled into a nano, so again, on with the smaller bulkheads.





I have not met anyone who has drilled an AJ. I was unable to find out if they were tempered, so I actually bought a second one, just in case, from Blue Crown Aquatics in Rosemead/El Monte, who provided them to SCAPE for the raffle.

I was going to build this tank regardless, so if it meant external overflow after shattering this tank, or proceeding as planned, it was going to happen.











Thankfully, drilling the tank worked. Two holes, not 6 inches from eachother (4.5 inches OC, actually), bulkheads in, and time to make the skin for the stand.


I have always enjoyed rustic appearances. I love distressed, and repurposed wood. But I hate collecting it for projects.




Alternatively, something that always makes me laugh at work is the number of people who go through the cheap furring strips asking for it to be culled so they can get a new bin down in order to find a single piece of random zebrawood (sorry, doesn't exist).

I personally, have always loved would-be culla of wood. They might not be useful for framing, exposed surface, or a header shim, but they can be so ugly, that they become beautiful, and an expert wood worker can make wonderful things with knots, crowns, and warps.

I am not an expert wood worker. But I would love to retire as one.

I dug through some boards I had at home, and found a configuration that I could make the appearance of a crate with. I headed to Lowe's and found some boards with a bit of character.

I scraped, brushed, sanded, stained and made as much happen as I could before turning them into a panel for them all to work together.

Satisfied with the results, I managed to a color that I was very satisfied with.





Before checking it against the stand itself, I waxed it to see how the distressed and unstained portions would darken with the wax on it.


 
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THEN, after drying for 24 hours, I brought the front panel which was my test portion back into the house and checked it against the stand for lining up. Little did I realize that it would look as though my floor was growing.



BACK to the drawing board, I resurfaced it again, wax on it and all, and managed to get most of it off. What remained, stayed within the nooks and crannies of the cull-quality wood, and made it real hell to get it cleaned out, otherwise. As an alternative to just a single stain, I added in a burnished look with a darker stain around the edges, knots, and crannies. I went back, smoothed it out and got a little bit more life and color out of it with another coating of wax.

The floor still looks a little bit like it is growing, to me, but I do like the results.


The interlocking joints, which I just call the "dovetails" was another problem. I am no carpenter. I just fancy at it from time to time. My measurements were very general, and I really should have been more precise, because the very first thing I had to do after cleaning everything up, appearance wise, was to make the dovetails actually line up. The ribbing-inserts I made to work as sleeve buttons for the skins to fit into the stand itself were not placed as well as they should have, and rather than strip them out entirely, remount them, etc, I decided to buy my very first pair of calipers, and adjusted the cuts of the existing ribs accordingly.

In some cases, even after doing this, the dovetails still did not join up as well as I wanted them to, so I hit them with the rasp and cleaned them up further.



In addition to this, my skins, being made of furring strips, have that natural tendency to bow, and not be entirely square. I had to straighten them out a bit, and had two large pieces of 3/4 plywood I managed to get my hands on that I could use as lazy version of a steam box. It worked quite a bit, but I will not get to finish it until after several attempts at lining the boards up. For now, I am okay with this, and just want to move onto the next sequence.



I used 1/4" Pine Ply, and Birch finishing strips in order to make a very thin platform for the tank itself to rest on, the Brooklyn frame, and minimize stress to the tank. On top of that a corrugated plastic construction backing from Lowe's, and then a foam sheet that came with the tank.




That is where I have left off now.



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#4
Tired. Shakey. Sick with the cold?flu? I had 13 people sneeze on me at work on Saturday. After i got an automated message telling me that the virus going around is a doozy and not part of the existing vaccine. Greeeeeat.

As shakey as i was, i just took more time out of each step of "measure twice, cut once."

More like, measure 3 times, place the fence. Measure again. Adjust the fence. Measure again. Check the saw blade. Readjust the fence. Measure again. Cut.

One interior cutout, 45 minutes later.


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I experienced a bit of a hiccup in the last 24 hours.

I ordered a jebao dcp 3000 through an ebay vendor. The schematics state that it uses 1.5 and 1.25 in/out respecticely. Lies.

Ebay vendor will not get back to me, and their refund/return policy is not very promising, so I am, essentially, moving forward with a different plan of action; i am fairly certain I can make it happen.

My auxiliary t5ho lighting came in. My auxiliary night led strips came in, and i plan on making the cabinet infrastrucfure for it saturday, as long as the forecast rain does not come pouring down.

I have the skin panels working in the improvized steambox in order to straighten out the parts I want to look a little better.

No bites on anyone with a router and router table, so I am going to improvize, and instead of a 5 minute router job, I am going to attempt a vibrator (oscillating tool) cut instead.

With the exception of final staining, I should have all cabinetry with the exception of the canopy complete this weekend.


I still need to drill the rock, but I am not too worried about that. It either works and looks perfect, or I improvize, and it doesn't.

I COULD cut some more pieces tonight, but it is already getting misty, and I do not particularly care for the idea of cleaning up quickly if it does.

As long as the kids have no plans to break themselves or house furniture, I have no potential hangups this weekend.

Getting excited, but trying to be patient.
 
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I experienced a couple of hiccups in the last 24 hours.

The Ebay seller for my Jebao pump got back to me, but not until after updating the item description. They took a hard stance against their previous advertisement.

I called Ebay, and they verified that they not only changed it for the first time since October, but right before emailing me back that I bought the wrong product and that it is not 1.5/1.25...

I do not have time to deal with a 2 week turn around of return/refund/rebill with someone else/wait for shipping, and this jerk has resorted to radio silence instead of just taking the hit and compensating me for a different plumbing setuo which I have decided to shell out in order to complete this project.

He has gone radio silent after I cited the documentation I have against his lies.

This guy has no idea who he is dealing with. I already know who he is, where his warehouse is, what his name is and will eventually figure out where he lives, as well.

I carried some anger into drilling my rock this morning, and after an hour of plotting the holes, creating an awl point, sketching a path (ever carve ice? It is nearly the same, but takes longer), I got 7/8 of the way through after another hour of drilling, and that last 8th got the better of me, and I miffed big time.
One huge, beautiful rock turned into two large pieces and a couple small fragments.

I planned for this, and have a backup plan that I am playing with for my scape. I need to modify a couple things tomorrow after some silicone dries, and then go at it again.

The glass cutting blade at Lowe's was MIA, so rather than try my hand at cutting glass myself, I chose to go with duraplex instead. It is much thinner than cast acrylic or lexan, and quite a bit blubbery, but I believe I can make it work.

If not, back to the drawing board, and I will see if Home Depot will cut glass for me instead.



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Took a step back today and messed with the plumbing quite a bit. Ip at 8, went to lowe's for a couple of things as well as home depot.

Bought that speed wall semi gloss "white on white" and kilz2 from home depot, a handful of plumbing connections and everything else from lowe's.

Part of what I went to home Depot was to look at tools. I lost my pvc cutter at some point in the last two years, and in debating on whether I should drive to harbor freight 6 miles away to buy a new one for cheap and save 4 bucks over getting one from home depot, I just decided on a Jr hack saw.

I usually use my grinder to cut them anyway, so I was only getting one so that zi wouldn't pissed off my neighborhood while I used my grinder before everyone was awake. Once I heard my neighbor working on his yard, I went back to using my grinder and the rest of my power tools.

I tested plumbing, checked the bulkheads for leaks (several.. I hardly tightened the return bulkhead, but the drain one did not seem to leak). Bought a couple of push to connect pvc fittings (I love those those fittings rotate on their interior gasket, making moving the plumbing around for various reasons an absolute breeze). Went looking for gate valves - neither location sells pvc gate valves. What the hell? I prefer ball valves on most plumbing anyway, but for the sake of how much torque they take to adjust when salt creep is in the mix, I would prefer a gate valve for this job. Oh well. No better choice than no choice.

Plumbed a couple pieces and discovered why everyone uses a herby (herbie?) drain for these things -that sucker was LOUD!

Played with a couple herby configurations and got one to work pretty quietly.

Looked at the pump. Got over the adapter mix up, and started plumbing it.

This pump must be primed to operate out of the sump/externally. Considered developing a priming mechanism using the drain, and I might do that, but for the sake of function, I chose to work out a straight forward, in-sump configuration.

I think I will go back to the priming from the DT option. It will take some more PVC, but I love over engineering things.

Got tired of the DT inset platform moving around while I adjusted the plumbing, so I made a set of sleeves and buttons to keep it snug to the frame of the stand. I did not consider the need of doing so, but zi will use these sleeves and buttons to screw on a wooden rafter/header to attach my sump lighting to. There is going to be a lot of infrastructure on this bad boy.

Nobody bit on my multiple social media inquiry for a router and router table. Boooo!

I chose to use my vibrator to make a rabbit by hand.

90 minutes into that ordeal, i suddenly realized that I could just change the depth of my circular saw and could just Dado a rabbit by hand. D'OH! It is never a waste of time as long as I am learning. This project has had plenty of that.

Beautiful 12 hour day of just listening to podcasts, smelling the orange and lemon blossoms, stretching and straining and then stretching my neck and back, and a bit if self awareness and reflection.

It is a pity this costs money.

(Typing this on my tablet. Picks will come from my phone later).




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orbela

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#10
Just saw your post by any chance you still need a router? I am in Van Nuys though


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Just saw your post by any chance you still need a router? I am in Van Nuys though


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Nah, i dont. In the middle of making the top panel and cutting with my oscillating tool, i realized out of sheer ignorance and stupidity that i could do both a more accurate and faster rabbit with my circular saw.

I don't think i have ever adjusted the depth of cut on that saw, but at that very moment, i slapped my forehead and just rabbited the mitered frame by saw.

Thanks for the offer, though!

I am definitely going to get a router of my own in the next couple of months.
 

orbela

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Nah, i dont. In the middle of making the top panel and cutting with my oscillating tool, i realized out of sheer ignorance and stupidity that i could do both a more accurate and faster rabbit with my circular saw.

I don't think i have ever adjusted the depth of cut on that saw, but at that very moment, i slapped my forehead and just rabbited the mitered frame by saw.

Thanks for the offer, though!

I am definitely going to get a router of my own in the next couple of months.
Got it!! Makita router is by far the best tool and slices through wood like butter
 
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#13
I respect Makita tools, but do not own any. I went the ryobi/ridgid/milwaukee pathway when i started building my power tool collection.

I wanted to get a combo router and table for my first router, and the best i could find overall was the kobalt. Mostly because that table is the only combo table that is actually metal.

For only 179,that gives plenty of well made pieces to learn what i want to look for in a plunge router, or one with more hp.

I have read from more than one source that several of the makitas make up the top 10 s consistently

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five.five-six

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#15
Impressive woodworking skills :)

And I wish I knew, I have router and table saw in corona.

We are dog sitting for my in-laws 3 months while they sail the Mediterranean. Went to costco and bought 2 air purifiers and in a pinch I take a Claritin D. I feel your pain.
 
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I haven't been posting as much of my progress, lately. Every hour of daylight that i did myself unobligated to anything else since March has been spent on this.

I am about 2 days worth of work to completion. Maybe 3 after i decide on some adjustments.

 

orbela

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That is cool!! What is the purpose for the rain effect? Is there a purpose of is it for aesthetics? It would be cool if you can hide the metal pars it takes away from the awesome wood work, maybe wrapping the metal parts with wood vinyl?
 
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#18
I have a wrap for the super struts which are going up after I finish the rock work... Or maybe before..... Just haven't gotten around to finishing the correct height/level off the canopy.

The rain effect is tied in to the auto fill system. Rather than a boring pump, I decided to do a rain effect.

I also have an emersed/emerged plan I am working on,but the perfect piece of shelf rock has been eluding me.
 
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