System Design

How it all started...
Initial wall framing and insulation. Ultimately, this wall was rebuilt three times before it was in the right location and of the correct size. We had no margin on the wall cut-out dimensions because the tank was way ahead of schedule. Miracles had an open slot and started the tank before I expected them too so we were pretty locked in on the finished size.

TOP: View from living room looking at the tank location.

MIDDLE: View from the reef room looking out.

BOTTOM: View into the insulated reef room.

Stand Construction
Basic stand construction is from 2x6" douglas fir. Because of the size, the legs were made removable so the assembly could be constructed on-site after the house was completed.

The legs are also built from 2x6" stock and configured under the base platform such that no joints directly overlap for maximum load bearing strength. The center section matrix was tied together with truss hangers, gorilla glue, and heavy duty deck screws.

The top is made from 5/8" plywood and covered in Formica. A full perimeter was implemented to allow standing on the edge of the base to get better access into the tank. In hind site, I wish I had built the base larger for more standing room.

TOP: Base view of the stand during construction.

MIDDLE: Corner detail and heavy duty leg leveler.

BOTTOM: First mock-up with the sump and refugium.

Tank Design
The tank was designed to be an in-wall from the time we picked out the house plans. We spent the better part of an afternoon with blue masking tape and a tape measure at the model house like the one we built just to work out the scale for the tank. Of course, bigger is always better, but we ended up with a nice compromise that accents the family room very well. The best part is having the back of the tank with it's own support room! I highly recommend one if you can swing it.

The construction was to be of glass with a Starphire front panel and mirrored sides. We based much of the design on a closed loop to maximize flow without adding more heat to the tank with submerged pumps and powerheads.

To support the closed loop design, we added holes in the bottom of the tank for two 2" drains and two 1.5" returns. The drains tie together to feed a Sequence 4200SEQ12 pump with an Oceans Motions 4-way on the output side. The returns through the bottom of the tank branch under the rock work and provide great diffused flow. Two additional returns were designed to come over the top of the tank. In hind site, I should have had the eurobrace drilled to bring the return lines closer to the corners.

TOP and MIDDLE: Dimensional prints of finished tank design.

BOTTOM: Closed loop design utilizing a Sequence 4200 pump and OM 4-Way.

Tank Construction
Initially, we planned to order a tank from Lee Mar out of California but they would not ship to us in Idaho. We found a company in Salt Lake City Utah that did a fair amount of business with Lee Mar and offered to order the tank for us. We received some mixed reports from their local reef club and soon found that they were quite difficult to work with so we cut them loose.

After weeks of talking to more tank manufacturers about our concept prints and refining the design, we entrusted our built to Miracles Aquariums out of Ontario Canada. Unfortunate for us, we are on the other side of the States so we knew shipping would be a major investment in the tank package.

Derek and his team at Miracles were outstanding to work with and I highly recommend them. They took the time to work with us on the design, offer ideas to improve the finished tank, and built and outstanding product for us. Some of the key features to the design are and all glass construction tank with a hang-off the back overflow, pre-drilled for closed loop, Starphire front viewing pane, mirrored sides, pre-installed black acrylic back with overflow teeth, and eurobracing throughout. Derek gave us updates and pictures during every step of the build to set our mind at ease.

Attaching the sides. (Note the detail work in the back panel for the overflow.)

Mounting the external overflow. This is an outstanding feature that really maximizes space inside the display tank.

Isometric and front views of the tank on the shipping pallet ready to be crated up.