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Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:18 pm
by VeipaCray
After reading the sand thread on this site, I decided to switch from bare bottom to sand for a substrate on this tank. I got two fifty pound bags of quickcrete play sand. I split one bag into two 5 gal buckets and rinsed the sand thoroughly. I'm going to start with one bag and see how it looks in the tank. Figured I'd rinse the sand while the paint is drying out in the garage.

playsand.jpg (78.52 KiB) Viewed 6930 times

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:06 am
by steve
Congrats on the new addition! I forgot to mention it earlier. :)

I think you have everything well planned out for Moe. The knobs are a nice touch, I think they'll look fine on the stand. Great progress overall, thanks for all the updates!

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:27 am
by vear
Great thread! Congratulations on the baby! By the way, I love the turtle handles!! hah!

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:56 pm
by VeipaCray
Steve and Vear.. thanks for the congrats. His nursery is done is turtle theme. :D

I decided to let the paint on the hood & lid dry over night so I could take a look at it in natural daylight today and determine if the paint is good enough or if I need to sand it and get the paint gun out to respray it.

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:51 pm
by VeipaCray
Decided the spray paint finish was good enough. Here's the hood on the tank. Still needs a good cleaning.


Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:29 pm
by VeipaCray
I started working on the ATBA. For the basking platform, I chose to use a piece of porcelain tile. I picked up a 18x18 tile from Lowes for less than $3. Lucky for Moe, his dad is fortunate enough to own a wet saw and was able to cut him a nice basking platform that fits just inside the top lip of the tank. Ceramic, porcelain, slate, travertine, marble... doesn't matter what kind of tile you chose any will work. Because this is a 75 gal tank, the front to rear dimension inside the rim is 16 and 7/16th inches. I had to get a tile that was 18x18 or larger and cut it down. Lowes had 4 or 5 tiles in stock that could be purchased individually that were 18x18. Three of the choices were less than $3 a tile, so I just chose the most turtle-ish looking one. Yes..."turtle-ish" is now a word and so is "turtley" if you ask me. I picked a tile with browns and greens in it.

The tile sits flush with the top of the rim of the tank. I picked a tile that I thought would be close and got lucky.



With the hood on....

Now to work on the ramp. I'm going to cut a piece of acrylic and drill some holes. I'll heat it up, bend it for a ramp and JB weld epoxy it to the underside of the tile.

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:51 pm
by VeipaCray
I cut some sheet acrylic on the table saw. You can also use a router to cut it or have the hardware store do it for you. I cut this out of some scrap I had laying around when I built the baffles for my reef tank sump. This acrylic is about 1/8th of an inch thick. I drilled 1/2" holes in it using a forstner bit and a drill press. I left about a quarter of the length un-drilled so I can heat it up and bend it. The un-drilled part will get epoxied to the underside of the basking platform tile. I use a propane torch (plumbing style torch) to heat up the acrylic. Acrylic will bend AWAY from the heat source, so heat the top of the ramp to get it to bend down. Also... if you're going to try this yourself... acrylic gets REALLY hot before it bends. Wear gloves and have a bucket of water near by to cool the plastic down before you handle it with bare skin. I like to bend the plastic over the edge of a shop table or piece of wood. That will give you a reasonably straight bend. Use channel locks or pliers to bend it...not your fingers. You WILL burn yourself.

Leave the protective plastic on when cutting / drilling. Peel the protective plastic off prior to heating for a bend otherwise it will smolder and leave you with a stinky toxic mess.

Here's the ramp before I put the bend in. I set it on my desk chair so you can see the holes better.

Moe has a ramp just like this one in his current tank and it works quite well. He likes to hang out on the ramp sometimes. The holes allow him to climb and also allow for quick drainage if he gets splashes the ramp. I saw people gluing stuff onto bent acrylic and wondered how well would that last if wet. Would it peel? Would it smell? Can I clean it? Then I saw people making ramps from light diffuser. That seemed flimsy to me and hard to attach to the basking platform. So I combined the hole idea from the diffuser with the bent acrylic from some of the other ramps and got this. It's easy to clean and very functional. Best of all... holes are free and simple enough to make.

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:46 am
by steve
I've also been iffy on light diffuser ramps. Have you thought about cork bark for the ramp?

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:55 am
by VeipaCray
I bought some cork bark when I was planning on using a 55gal tank that was given to me. It's not wide enough for the 75. I have two nice pieces still wrapped up. If anyone can use them please PM me.

I thought about a cork bark ramp. That was my first plan. When i got the bigger tank, I had second thoughts. I had the arcylic already and moe is used to it. I can keep it clean and it takes up less space. The other pro is that light will pass through it so the tank isn't quite as dark and shadowed.

I can still be talked into cork bark. How do you feel about cork bark? I could always build another atba with another $3 tile.

Steve > is there a buy/sell/trade/give section of this site?

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:11 am
by AllTheCandies
This tank build is EPIC!
Also, congrats on having a son!!!!

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:14 pm
by steve
There's no market section of the site, except posting links to other sites. I've been a bit weary about people using the site to sell/buy things, though it's generally been allowed it for those no longer keeping turtles.

Cork looks great in the tank, even when there's algae on it. It think it's particularly good at promoting a natural look for the turtle, it's more easily adjustable than anything out there, not a trapping hazard, not abrasive and safer for a turtle that likes to bite everything.

It does change the water clarity sooner than a tank without it, my piece still releases tannins after months of use.

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:30 pm
by VeipaCray
@ AllTheCandies Thank you. We did his entire nursery in turtles. I don't have a pic of the entire room, but here's one of his crib...
turtlecrib.jpg (106.09 KiB) Viewed 6905 times

He has turtle sheets, turtle bumpers, a turtle mobile, and a turtle blanket.

Thanks for the kind words on this thread. If it weren't for people posting pics and their ideas on here, I'd be clueless. Everything I know about how to care for Moe came from this site. I thought by posting my build thread it may help others when they are looking for ideas.

@ Steve With the arrival of Derek, I have to clean out some older stuff and make some room. I have a bunch of odds and ends that are fish / turtle related that could use a good home instead of taking up space in my basement. Heaters, filters, pumps, lights, timers etc. I'd like to give them away to people who need them. They aren't worth my time trying to sell the various things and I'd rather give them to someone for their turtle than throw them in the trash. Can I post a "for free" ad anywhere?

My progress on this build has slowed a bit today. I went to the Dr. this morning and she removed the stitches in my finger from the table saw incident. Now my left hand is all wrapped up again and difficult to use. *grumble grumble, stupid cheap table saw, grumble*

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:14 pm
by shortt
That is an awesome idea for a ramp. I have a feeling my tank will be updated in the future using this method. Simple and effective!

Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:21 pm
by VeipaCray
shortt > thank you.

Speaking of the ramp, I just heated it up with a propane torch and put the bend in.



Re: Moe's new 75G home - build thread.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:31 pm
by theartbook35
VeipaCray wrote:Theartbook35> Thanks for the kind words. My wife and I think Derek is the most awesome baby ever as well. I stole most of the ideas for this hood from the ATBA sticky on this site. I spent a few weeks planning this in my head, a day or so sketching it out, then build time. I too am happy with how it's coming out.

I'm also very pleased with the Valspar spray cans. I usually use Rustoleum universal spray cans. I like how Valspar paint covers in the house, so I thought I'd give their spray cans a shot since they were on sale for 1/2 the price of the Rustoleum. I think they spray as good or better. A bit narrow of a spray pattern, but for $3.78 a can there's not much I can complain about.

I have a heater on and rolled a portable dehumidifier into the garage to speed up dry time between coats. So far so good. I hate painting projects. I'm impatient and hate waiting for anything.

You are quite welcome. Valspar is pretty popular from what I have heard. Do you have a finisher you can put over the paint (assuming you will always keep this the black color)? I worry about the water getting through the paint, and Valspar is very poisonous, like almost everything these days.