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melev

The 60g cube is on its stand

Rating: 10 votes, 5.00 average.
Last year after MACNA, I got a 60g cube tank made by AGE. It's a very pretty starphire glass tank with a PVC base. Undrilled, it needed an overflow. It's been in the backroom waiting for that to get done, and time passed like usual. About two weeks ago, the steel stand arrived which I blogged about. It's going to house the anemones and clownfish, so I need it ready to go now that I'm about to transfer all my livestock from the 215g into the 400g and the 60g at the same time.

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I contacted AGE about getting them to glue in an overflow for me, since they have the magic silicone designed for glass, acrylic and PVC. However, my schedule didn't work for the one hour drive each way (barring traffic issues) two days in a row, and I opted to go a different route.

The first overflow box I made was the common 2-sided L-shape that fits into the corner. Since I didn't trust regular silicone to do the job, I decided I'd made an acrylic tower with a bottom panel instead. This stands in the corner of the tank, and bulkheads would secure it to the bottom of the aquarium. It sounds so easy at first, until you start thinking about all the logistics. The aquarium has silicone beads where it has been bonded, and the seams have a round fillet instead of a nice clean empty joint. Additionally and more importantly, the bulkheads had to be drilled through the bottom of the acrylic box, align perfectly with the holes in the bottom of the aquarium, and there had to be enough clearance so the bulkheads didn't end up pointing down into the steel stand's frame. Did I mention the wooden board with an opening that had to match up with the bulkheads?

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I took my time before I drilled anything to make sure I identified which pane of glass is standard glass. In the picture above, you should be able to note how the bottom and side panels are glowing blue, and the top pane is darker. That's the regular glass, thus the back of the aquarium. Had I assumed the front was the pane with the AGE sticker on it, I would have been mistaken.

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The inner plumbing hides inside the box. The lid has an extra piece glued to its underside to keep it in place, and that extra space had to be factored in to make sure the plumbing didn't push up too high, lifting the lid.

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Lots of worries about what could go wrong kept my pace slow and steady. I tried to measure & remeasure always thinking ahead to coordinate every component so that when it all came together, it would work. I'm happy to report that this project went perfectly.

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The opening in the board was traced onto the base of the aquarium where the bulkheads would go.

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The supporting board for the tank is MDF, so this was painted several times with black latex paint, focusing especially on the edges to avoid moisture caused-swelling. This was cut to fit the exact top of the stand, which is 24" x 24".

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The opening of the MDF board had to accommodate the bulkhead nuts, which was quickly verified before any drilling was done.

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The tower is 8" wide x 5.5" deep and 22.5" tall. The tower has 1" teeth, so the water line should be around 21.75" high in the aquarium -- or 2" from the top rim. The tower overflow has a black acrylic lid, and I notched a spot in the box for the Locline return to fit nicely, low enough that the PVC pipe wouldn't cause the lid to not sit flat. The overflow has two 1" bulkheads, one for the drain and one for the return.

The holes were drilled through the 3/4" PVC base. Each hole is 1 3/8" in diameter, which is the right size for the 1" bulkhead.

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The box was placed inside the tank and the drilled holes in the PVC base were traced onto the paper backing of the acrylic overflow box. Once drilled, the paper was peeled off and it was ready to install.

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Using the flat gasket from a second set of bulkheads, I placed a gasket between the box's bottom panel and inside base of the tank to seal that connection. Inside the overflow box, the bulkhead's flange has the rubber gasket as well. Using double gaskets, the tank shouldn't leak at all. This is similar to how Glass-Holes.com installs overflow boxes on the back of aquariums. This is the order: bulkhead flange - gasket - acrylic - gasket - PVC base - tightening nut. The sandbed will hide the tiny gap under the tower overflow.

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My plan was to affix black tint to the back of the aquarium, but it turned out the roll of vinyl I have is blue. I gave away the black vinyl to a friend. Oops. I taped the blue to the back of the tank to see how it looks, and it's just too vivid for me. When I took a picture with my camera's flash, it looked like swimming pool blue. I then held the Radion LED fixture over the tank thinking that it might look better since LEDs are pretty directional, but alas it didn't. In these first two pictures, it appears to be dark enough to work.

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I'd probably love a midnight blue color, but this bright blue isn't going to work. I'll get some black and affix that this week, and then I can plumb it in.

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Updated 10-21-2013 at 12:46 AM by melev

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