Custom Build Started Sept. 13, 2009 - Present


Reefing newb
This thread is to simpilify my thread I started over a year ago that went stale for a year. The tank it's self is a custom made 55 gallon but it's a couple inches higher. The refugium is a 35 gallon I built for my freshwater fish then converted it.

2009 Progress. Refugium being put together,

These 10 pictures are me cutting the baffles and dividers for the refugium and the lay out of it.


  • getting ready to cut.jpg
    getting ready to cut.jpg
    49.9 KB · Views: 384
  • measuring.jpg
    51.8 KB · Views: 401
  • cutting.jpg
    49.9 KB · Views: 419
  • all cut.jpg
    all cut.jpg
    41.6 KB · Views: 396
  • buffing edges.jpg
    buffing edges.jpg
    43.8 KB · Views: 371
  • finished sump.jpg
    finished sump.jpg
    26.3 KB · Views: 480
  • dsb and left baffles done.jpg
    dsb and left baffles done.jpg
    20.7 KB · Views: 423
  • 1st piece of glass.jpg
    1st piece of glass.jpg
    36.2 KB · Views: 423
  • cleaning sump.jpg
    cleaning sump.jpg
    49.9 KB · Views: 395
  • refugium 36 gallon.JPG
    refugium 36 gallon.JPG
    36.8 KB · Views: 1,180
2009 Progress - Tank.

These pictures are of the overflow being drilled and my boss Terry & I putting the tank together.


  • fitting fits.jpg
    fitting fits.jpg
    49.6 KB · Views: 389
  • yup its a hole.jpg
    yup its a hole.jpg
    36.4 KB · Views: 371
  • overflow cut.jpg
    overflow cut.jpg
    47.1 KB · Views: 348
  • drilling overflow very slow.jpg
    drilling overflow very slow.jpg
    49.1 KB · Views: 366
  • ready to drill overflow.jpg
    ready to drill overflow.jpg
    36.6 KB · Views: 414
  • all put together.jpg
    all put together.jpg
    53.7 KB · Views: 392
  • last piece going in place.jpg
    last piece going in place.jpg
    56.6 KB · Views: 370
  • put the camera down and hand me some tape.jpg
    put the camera down and hand me some tape.jpg
    51.3 KB · Views: 405
  • boss holding it for me.jpg
    boss holding it for me.jpg
    49.3 KB · Views: 384
  • all laid out.jpg
    all laid out.jpg
    23.3 KB · Views: 411
  • height.jpg
    40.5 KB · Views: 394
  • width.jpg
    50.5 KB · Views: 373
  • length.jpg
    52.3 KB · Views: 375
  • completed.jpg
    51.3 KB · Views: 408
  • last chaulking line.jpg
    last chaulking line.jpg
    44.6 KB · Views: 366
Progress 2009 - Leak Tests.

Both tanks were left for 3 days full of water. The refugium had a couple little leaks that were easily fixed.


  • leak test.jpg
    leak test.jpg
    23.3 KB · Views: 532
  • tank leak testing.jpg
    tank leak testing.jpg
    16.7 KB · Views: 465
  • P1040133.JPG
    55.5 KB · Views: 415
2010 Progress - Stand.

The stand is made of 2x4's with 5 5 mahogany underlay for an undercoat. The outside is covered in tobacco slates. The tanks rest on 3/4" G.O.S. oak.


  • frames built and only one Timmies.JPG
    frames built and only one Timmies.JPG
    44.3 KB · Views: 349
  • giving a little support.JPG
    giving a little support.JPG
    51.8 KB · Views: 364
  • adding the sides.JPG
    adding the sides.JPG
    49.4 KB · Views: 390
  • bottom and top together.JPG
    bottom and top together.JPG
    43.1 KB · Views: 356
  • bottom put together.JPG
    bottom put together.JPG
    59.9 KB · Views: 370
  • Had to modify my original plan.JPG
    Had to modify my original plan.JPG
    30.1 KB · Views: 327
  • Shims come in handy for leveling.JPG
    Shims come in handy for leveling.JPG
    26 KB · Views: 360
  • Inner skin of underlay.JPG
    Inner skin of underlay.JPG
    22.1 KB · Views: 355
  • Tobacco slats for the finished product.JPG
    Tobacco slats for the finished product.JPG
    15.6 KB · Views: 358
  • Tobacco slats for the finished product - lightened.JPG
    Tobacco slats for the finished product - lightened.JPG
    35.4 KB · Views: 358
  • doors almost cut out.JPG
    doors almost cut out.JPG
    50.6 KB · Views: 354
  • ready to cut doors.JPG
    ready to cut doors.JPG
    46.9 KB · Views: 373
  • doors marked out.JPG
    doors marked out.JPG
    45.8 KB · Views: 377
2010 - Progress - Painting the back of the tank.

5 coats of flat black on the back of the tank and I scratched it on my belt buckle carrying it downstairs cause I couldn't wait for someone to help me carry it from the garage to the basement. I'll fix those before I fasten the plumbing together with glue. I'm going to have to buy more paint if there is none at the shop as I used a whole can on it. LOL!


  • cleaned and ready to to prep for paint.JPG
    cleaned and ready to to prep for paint.JPG
    33.1 KB · Views: 329
  • preped for paint.JPG
    preped for paint.JPG
    29 KB · Views: 336
  • coat one on back of tank.JPG
    coat one on back of tank.JPG
    31.1 KB · Views: 354
Last edited:
2010 Progress - Plumbing.

I come out of the overflow with 1 1/2" ABS down to a tee then branch off to 3/4" PVC with flow control valves. Any comments or suggestions are welcome. i did this tonight and is dry fitted together since I forgot to pick up a 1 1/2" elbow and the store closed in 5 minutes. There's always tomorrow. I also added a picture of the refugium labled to what goes where in the actual tank.


  • plumbing4.JPG
    16.2 KB · Views: 299
  • plumbing3.JPG
    17.9 KB · Views: 310
  • plumbing2.JPG
    48.2 KB · Views: 328
  • Plumbing 1.JPG
    Plumbing 1.JPG
    37 KB · Views: 337
  • Ready to plumb.JPG
    Ready to plumb.JPG
    42.9 KB · Views: 316
  • plumbing5.JPG
    17.9 KB · Views: 304
  • plumbing6.JPG
    14.5 KB · Views: 314
  • plumbing7.JPG
    44.6 KB · Views: 319
  • sump-areas-labled.JPG
    53.6 KB · Views: 348
  • Scratches.JPG
    39.3 KB · Views: 324
Wow I am impressed! I can't wait to see life in that tank! I am very impressed with your work!

Thank you! Trying to finish the cabinet today, then I can glue the plumbing together. I might get a pump next week and see how well it works. Slowly but surely I'll get some life in here. Will post more pics later tonight.
Update - It's done.

Building the tanks and stand are now complete. I glued the plumbing together, finished the doors, painted the scratches on the back of the tank, and finished putting the slates on the stand. All that is left to do it build a canopy when I get the T5 ballast as I had to sell the ones I had bought last year.

Enjoy the photos.


  • P1050354.JPG
    38.2 KB · Views: 294
  • P1050352.JPG
    42.2 KB · Views: 290
  • P1050351.JPG
    38.4 KB · Views: 311
  • P1050350.JPG
    21 KB · Views: 299
  • P1050349.JPG
    25.8 KB · Views: 330
  • P1050355.JPG
    31.6 KB · Views: 320
  • P1050356.JPG
    46.3 KB · Views: 284
I've been asked how much I have spent on this build, and I dug out all my invoices and here's the total to date. This does not include things I've bought by mistake and didn't use.

Main tank built from scratch;
- $56.50 for black plastic trim
- $5.44 silicone for tank
- 6mm glass was free from work.

- 35 Gallon tank was free. (bottom & sides were broken. Scraped it all but the trim and put new glass in it.
- $5.44 for silcone
- 5mm glass was free from work. (tank)
- 4mm glass was free from work. (baffles)

Stand; (includes wood, screws & door hardware)
- $42.69

- $87.12

Total of $ 206.19

I still have to build lighting and something to keep the rock off the bottom which I pick up the acrylic for tonight from work. I'll start it tomorrow if I find time.
Last edited:
I was looking for some LR Tuesday when I came across this nice little ad on Kijiji.

55 Gallon Salt Water Fish Tank - London Pets For Sale - Kijiji London Canada.

Since it was posted on Oct. 14 I figured there was no way it would still be there but I called anyways. She still had it, and I bought it. I think I just saved myself a whole :pooh: load of money. The stuff may not be the best, but really it was just the LR I wanted. The rest was a bonus. Here's pics of what I got after I emptied it there and then drove a hour back home and set it up again. The tank is a complete mess. I don't know when the last time it was cleaned, but then I didn't want the tank. The price sticker is the normal selling price of the skimmer in all the LPS. There is another fish which went right into hiding, 2 hermit crabs, and a crap load of algae covered snails. Now to clean all this up and move it to my setup.

Just a quick note that totes aren't the best things for moving water in. Don't tell my Mom they leaked a lot in the back of her Jimmy. ;)

YOTE: I drove all that way and you weren't even home. Kim didn't like that I emptied all the christmas and halloween totes to use.:mrgreen: JK!!! LOL!


  • P1050401.JPG
    45.9 KB · Views: 294
  • P1050400.JPG
    40.5 KB · Views: 305
  • P1050399.JPG
    38.8 KB · Views: 292
  • P1050374.JPG
    56 KB · Views: 309
  • P1050368.JPG
    24.6 KB · Views: 292
  • P1050406.JPG
    40.3 KB · Views: 307
  • P1050405.JPG
    45.3 KB · Views: 331
  • P1050404.JPG
    43.6 KB · Views: 280
  • P1050403.JPG
    49.6 KB · Views: 275
  • P1050402.JPG
    47.1 KB · Views: 293
  • P1050407.JPG
    45.7 KB · Views: 300
  • P1050408.JPG
    46.1 KB · Views: 313
  • P1050409.JPG
    42.4 KB · Views: 289
  • P1050410.JPG
    37.6 KB · Views: 285
  • P1050411.JPG
    38.9 KB · Views: 285
That's a ton of stuff! Good deal. It will get you started. It looks like the rock may have some pest anemones. Hard to tell without a better pic though. Keep your eye on them.
That's a ton of stuff! Good deal. It will get you started. It looks like the rock may have some pest anemones. Hard to tell without a better pic though. Keep your eye on them.

Jodi said she bought them, but couldn't remember the names of them. I'll see if I can get a closer pic of them tomorrow. I should go to bed, but I can't help staring at the tank. It'll look better once I get it cleaned up and moved to my tank. Won't have all that stuff hanging on the back of it.
wow you are doing a great job i just got hooked to this thread...i really like your stand it looks kinda antique

Thanks Bryan!! The idea just came to me while I was over putting some windows in for a farmer I worked for years in tobacco for. I was looking for something cheap and would look good. My wife & I both hated it until I finished the doors and put the trim around the tank to hide the black trim. (she picked out the hinges)
DANG DUDE.I thought you was looking at a tank for sale,NOT a whole fist store.:D
That'll make a great looking reef.