50 Gallon Seahorse Cube / Cadlights Artisan II WIP

Discussion in 'Show Off Your Fish Tanks!' started by Kevin Roen, Jun 11, 2015.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. Kevin Roen

    Kevin Roen Plankton

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Hi everyone! I posted an intro a month or so ago, and since then have been researching and purchasing, and am finally ready to show off a little :). I'll keep updating this as I go. This forum has been a HUGE help in researching / planning, and my tank is going to be on the minimalist side, so it'll be a bit of a running experiment. Hopefully some of this info will be helpful to others!

    The tank:

    I went with the Artisan II 50g from Cadlights for several reasons. First, I wanted a stand that was NOT made from pressboard. This one's completely made from plywood, and it is STURDY. Second, I wanted the stand to be 3' tall at least - the shorter stands kept the tanks too low for viewing, I thought. And 3rd, it seemed pretty economical - $900 shipped, including Starfire glass, black silicone, the sump, and the stand, plus plumbing, skimmer, and a return pump. (More on the plumbing below.)

    I needed a tank at least 20" tall for seahorses - ideally I would have preferred a 60g cube at 24", but I couldn't find one with a stand I liked, and I didn't want to have to build one. And I really didn't want the overflow in the corner because this will be visible from three sides.

    I'd heard some negatives about Cadlights, but questions I submitted via their website were answered promptly, so I gave it a shot. It arrived really quickly, on a HUGE pallet from Fed Ex - they wheeled it into my garage for me. The stand was completely assembled, so I really just had to drag everything into the house.

    The tank and the stand both are really nice - the glossy paint on the stand looks like it'll resist water, and the silicone work on the tank is clean and neat. (Granted I haven't had a tank in a long time, but everything looks great to me.)

    The plumbing is the main trouble with this brand, though I knew this going into it so I wasn't surprised. The bulkheads are drilled for metric PVC (two 20mm and one 40mm), and the holes are way too small for any US sized bulkheads I could find. I could have drilled them out a little larger, but I found a couple creative solutions because that seemed too freaky. The plumbing comes with a Durso-style setup, which I've heard can be kind of noisy, so I wanted to switch to a Herbie-style. Here's what I did:

    1) I ordered a union adapter from FlexPVC.com - one side accepts the 20mm pipe, and the other accepts the 1/2". (There's a 20mm to 3/4" adapter, but the 3/4" interior is LARGER than the 20mm interior, and I didn't want air bubbles disrupting the siphon.). I also ordered a ball gate valve for 1/2" pvc.

    2) For the larger "emergency drain" hose (the 40mm), the metric pvc is a snug, perfect fit inside a 1 1/2" PVC. Since this will function as the trickle drain, I wasn't worried about the air bubble factor, though I will test it carefully to make sure it can take the full flow if the siphon gets blocked.

    The sump was the other thing I wanted to mod. The baffles as installed were a little cumbersome, and really cut down on the amount of room you had. I wanted to base the filtration on an Upflow Algae Scrubber, so I needed a larger chamber. So I removed all of the baffles and put one back in dividing the sump in half. One side is a 5g chamber that I'll use for an auto top off reservoir, and the other is large enough to hold the scrubbers and/or skimmer. (Seahorses need cooler water, about 72 degrees, so the less equipment to heat the water in the sump, the better.)

    All in all I'm happy with the tank and equipment, though it did take a little more modding than I thought it would. I've got something really specific in mind, though... You certainly could have treated it as a 100% plug and play system and assembled it just as shipped.

    A few pics, and then I'll make a second post about the Pukani, the lighting, and the scrubbers I built - stay tuned!

    The tank, still on cardboard so I can slide it around easily:
    [​IMG]


    The Sump - you can see where I cut out the old baffles (clear silicone) and put in the new one (black silicone - all I had, and didn't really care since it was the sump :))
    [​IMG]

    The plumbing mods - left side is the 40mm bulkhead/pvc with white 1.5" pvc slid on top; right is the 20mm with the metric-to-imperial adapter, lower right:
    [​IMG]

    And a larger shot showing the ball gate valve (I'll be painting all of the pipe black after I glue it together):
    [​IMG]

    The plumbing/sump after gluing the PVC together and painting the pipes black:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  2. Click Here!

  3. Kevin Roen

    Kevin Roen Plankton

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Continuing on, the Pukani rock I ordered from Bulkreefsupply.com was a lot of fun. I had no idea how much I'd need, so I sent them a few messages via their online chat. I gave them the dimensions of my tank, and they recommended 35 lbs for my 50 gallon cube. I placed the order and left instructions in the "special notes" area that I was looking for one larger rock to serve as a minimalist centerpiece, plus a few smaller ones to fill the tank. I gave them my tank dimensions (24"x24"x20") again, and told them it was for a seahorse tank, so any grabby surfaces would be appreciated.

    Twenty minutes later I got a call from BRS - they wanted to make sure I wasn't looking for a piece of Pukani 2'x2'x2'!! (They said they could find one if I was!) I talked them through what I wanted, and they said they'd find me something awesome.

    Delivery day and I get an enormous box full of peanuts:
    [​IMG]

    I find the bag hiding inside and there's only a tiny bit of rubble - these were very well packed:
    [​IMG]

    And I find three HUGE rocks (my Dalmatian is 60 lbs and very tall):
    [​IMG]

    This is 40lbs of rock, in case you're trying to figure out how much to order. And here is a pic of the largest rock, first the most logical way, and second turned around to create some overhangs and drama (which is ultimately how I plan to use it):

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I ended up chiseling out a cave through the middle - it was really easy with a hammer and a screwdriver. I also took the smallest piece and cut the top off flat, so I could lay it on the tank bottom and have it erupting from the sand - we'll see how that looks after it cures.

    Currently the rock is curing in a huge Rubbermaid garbage can full of saltwater, powerheads, and a heater - I add Seaklear every few days when the phosphates get too high:
    [​IMG]

    It really is startlingly light for how huge it is. I can easily pick up the big piece with one hand.

    Later I'll post the upflow scrubbers I built, along with the LED lights I ordered and assembled. This hobby is fun! :)
     
  4. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Messages:
    19,652
    Location:
    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Well you're doing a bang up job! I happen to like the Cadlight look.

    Following.:)

    Where did you get the information on the phosphate product?
     
  5. Kevin Roen

    Kevin Roen Plankton

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Thank you!! If you google "Pukani Phosphates" there are a few threads floating around. Basically these rocks are SO porous that it takes awhile to get all the dead matter off, or you end up with crazy algae issues. So this Seaklear stuff will zero out the water every few days when the Phosphates get too high - that way you don't have to change the water. It turns the Phos into a white powder that settles on the bottom - then when you don't have any for a week or so, you rinse the rocks and put them in your tank with fresh saltwater, and bam! All cured :).
     
    zesty and Corailline like this.
  6. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Messages:
    19,652
    Location:
    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Hmm cool, did not know that. Learn something new everyday, thanks. :)
     
  7. Jake

    Jake Sea Dragon

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Messages:
    516
    Location:
    Saskatoon
    I'll be following too... have a soft spot for sea horses!
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. Kevin Roen

    Kevin Roen Plankton

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Next up is the Algae Scrubber. These things are really interesting to me. The theory behind them makes a lot of sense, and I hate cleaning slime off the glass, so I decided to make a couple. With all of the pieces I made two 6x4" scrubbers with red LEDs for about $100, and then the air pump was another $60 for the one strong enough to power both of them.

    I know not a lot of people use scrubber-only filtration, so I do have the skimmer as a backup if it seems like the nutrients are getting out of whack, but I'm going to try running without it for a bit and see what happens.

    Here's how I built them:

    I used two plastic containers from the $5 Costco roasted chickens that I buy all the time. Then I ordered 8 Solderless 660 Red Leds from RapidLED.com along with the driver and the heatsinks. I may order one more each for the center if I feel like the algae isn't getting enough light.

    The pump is the Whisper AP 300 from Amazon, with some black airline tubing, and I also picked up some black zip ties, and some stiff #7 screen from Michael's, and used a saw blade to rough them up.

    I drilled tiny holes in the airline tubing, cut everything to size, drilled some holes in the sides of the containers for water inlet/outlets, and then zip tied it all together.

    Last, I picked up some neodymium N50 magnets, 1/4" thick (on Amazon in lots of different sizes). I superglued them to the outsides of the containers, then thickly coated them in silicone to prevent saltwater getting in there.

    Here's how they turned out:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Now I'm pretty much in a holding pattern waiting for the Pukani rock to stop curing. I've got a bucket of Red Sea Reef salt, an RObuddie RODI unit, and 30lbs of Oolite sand all ready to go! Will updated as soon as everything gets assembled.

    Thanks for stopping by! :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  10. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,660
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    wow! very impressive! I can certainly tell you've been researching a lot! I love seahorses so will definitely be watching your build! Welcome to the forum and this wonderfully addictive hobby!
     
  11. Kevin Roen

    Kevin Roen Plankton

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Thank you!! :) I love researching - I'm almost sad that everything's close to being set up, it was tons of fun to comb through everything online to find what I'm looking for :).
     
    April Hope likes this.
  12. Kevin Roen

    Kevin Roen Plankton

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Jake! Me too - I'm sure at some point I'll set up a regular reef/fish tank, but for now these guys have all my attention :).