NC24 Viv, updated 12-26-06
Well a little introduction, Iíve been a lurker here for a year or so soaking up ideas for a viv. I am active over at nano-reef.com and have a Nano-Cube 6 reef tank. I know a few people on this board are also active at NR. I wanted to setup a Nano-Cube 24 as a viv and Chris at nanocustoms.com
offered me one of his 05 NC24ís with a new DX hood to work with. Chris also re-bulbed the hood with two 36 watt 7100K daylight bulbs before shipping the tank to me. For anyone not familiar with Nano-cubes, they are supposed to be an out of the box reef tank setup with two 36 watt PC lights, LED moonlighting, cooling fans in the hood and back chambers in the tank to hide the filter & pump.
Well since the NC24 was designed as a reef tank, not a viv, I knew I had to do a lot of modifications to make it work. The first thing I did was take the tank apart. Two hinges that are screwed to the top trim hold on the hood. I also removed the back chambers by cutting thru the silicon beads between the tank glass & the chambers. My biggest concern was how to keep frogs & flies in the tank, so I made a top out of a prismatic 2x4 light lens. I am hoping this will diffuse the light without cutting down too much on the usable light inside the tank, because I donít like staring into light bulbs when I look into the viv.
I made the top with the rough side down in the hope that it will discourage frogs from trying to push their way under the top and it will let moisture drip off easily. The prismatic light lens is very flexible and I can open it enough to get a spray bottle &/or food into the viv. I can also slide the top off to remove it completely. The top slides under the attachment area for the hood hold open brackets (after a little grinding with my Dremel).
The hood comes with a light lens to protect the lights & fans from moisture, but the stock lens is recessed down into the tank and would hit the prismatic lens top that I made. I thought about just removing the hood lens since I had the prismatic tank top, but I was worried that the heat from the lights would raise the viv temps, so I used clear acrylic & my Dremel to cutout a new flat hood lens.
I wanted to have a drain system in the viv so I drilled (actually cut) a hole in the bottom of the NC24 with my Dremel and a diamond bit.
I will have my water return line run inside the drain line to cut down on the clutter. Here is a pic of the top of the drain fitting with a hole drilled thru.
I added a second elbow fitting to my drain, so I could adjust the water level inside the viv by turning the elbow up or down. I am planning on about 1Ē of water under the false floor. Here is a pic of the drain fitting with the return line running thru it.
One of the main reasons I wanted to use the NC24 for a viv is the cube shape & the back chambers.
I wanted to install a fan in the center back chamber blowing air under a false floor, then back out the front of the viv to keep humidity as high as possible.
I flipped the chambers upside down & cut in an air return at the top & covered the cutout with two layers of black mesh with a layer of fiberglass screen sandwiched between the mesh and I hot glued it to the chambers.
I made a removable fan holder that would slip into the center chamber. The fan is an old computer fan, which I will run with an adjustable voltage converter. The fan is a 12 volt model and is totally quiet when run at 6 volts, but still pushes a lot of air.
Her is a pic of the back chambers removed & modified for my fan setup
This is what the fan and back chambers looks like in the tank
I needed a way to direct the air under the false floor then back out the front of the tank, so I used a shop wet vac attachment for an air diffuser. I cut the tube in half and hot glued the tubes to the wet vac attachment.
I used black plastic mesh to cover the tubes and the raised parts of the false floor. The air will be pushed down the center back chamber by the fan, under the false floor and out of the air diffuser. Iím hoping this will also keep the front glass from fogging up.
Since I was dealing with a curved front glass I had to devise some way to keep my false floor & air diffuser sealed off. I came up with a false floor wall made from black acrylic, siliconed to the bottom of the tank. The false floor wall will keep water inside the wall and eliminates the need to use black silicon on the sides & front glass to hide the false floor. The one down side is that it might trap water between the glass & false floor wall if Iím not careful.
Here is a pic of my completed false floor
The next thing I need to do is work on the background. I ordered black handi-foam to make my background & I have Manzanita branches that were collected after the big fires in San Diego County a couple of years ago (so no live trees were killed in my collecting). Iíve had the branches soaking in a bucket of water for a few weeks and they are looking good with nice blacked highlights.
Iíll post more pics after I make the background.