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New set up for the cuttles - whaddya think


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Jan 22, 2004
Hey guys,

As the current group nears the end of their lives I am thinking of swapping out their current digs held together with tape and gum for something sweeter.

The current set up consists of a 100 gallon tank, 40 gallon sump with 30 gallons of cubes and an 18 gallon tank plumbed in.
I may be able to buy a 4 foot by 4 foot by 2 foot tall tank that would fit nicely in a corner instead of spread all over the room. I would be able to put the cubes under the tank and even set up another holding tank as well as the sump due to the 4x4 footprint.

The question is is the tank to big. Having to get something out of the back corner will be a pain, but I guess I can use tongs and nets on sticks. :smile: I think the larger space will be better for adult cuttles and it should be easy to divide the tank into 4 sections or two removable sections.

Sounds like I want to do it. Or not - reinforcing the floor is so much fun!

Any opinions? :biggrin2:
Sounds like a cool idea. It would be an ideal setup if you mimic your 100 gallon tank with the moving gates: since the sections would be orthagonal each cuttle could be exposed to more potential mates than in the 100 gallon system, while still maintaining the control of knowing who's mating with who.

On the other hand it seems that there's been good luck recently keeping them together and not bothering with the controls.


I haven't been bothering with separating the cuttles and have been using the sections just to deal their sizes - small section for small cuttles. I think it would be pretty easy to corner or half divide the new tank, and put the current cubes inside the stand.

It really would be nice for my office not to be a mad cephitists lab, rather a nice looking cephitist lab.

I am going to take a look at the tank and it it looks good, I gonna git it.
Those are the exact dimensions of my tank!

I think it would be perfect for cuttles. I means that if one cuttle has a problem with another they don't have to pass each other as they would in a thin rectangular design. I was figuring I could line the two visible sides of the tank with half coconut shells to hope they lay in the shells (would make a good video).

Be sure that the overflow is large enough for the flow you will need.

If it is glass like mine -they are deceptively heavy.I am very happy with my stand design, even after 8 months. If it doesn't have a good stand I would suggest mine, it will weight as much as a car when filled.

The back corner is not much of a problem as long as you don't have rocks too close to the sides.


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Great to see a pic of your tank being the same size!
The overflow on this this is a beast - it used to accommodate 2 or 3 100 gallon surges. It is acrylic, but from what I understand its 1 inch, so its still heavy!
It has no stand, do you have plans for your design? I am thinking of going 36 or 40 inches tall on the stand.

Thales- I can give you more info if you need it, just ask on any particulars that I forgot to mention.

I used all pressure treated 4x4 lumber on the stand. I wanted to have the bottom open as much as possible for access to the sump and plumbing so I chose removable doors without hinges. They have those magnetic push holders like you see on stereo cabinets, so they mount flush with the rest of the stand.
I didn't end up using the 2x4 on the top and bottom edges that the diagram shows. I was concerned about dimensional stability so I added 3/4 plywood on the floor under and on top of the stand. This held it even better than the little planks would have.
Notice that one pair of opposite corners is lower (corner view) than the other to accommodate the 2 cross 4x4s so they don't have to be cut. The cross beams are cut in arrow shapes (top view) to fully fit over the supporting 4x4s.
Everything is held together with countersunk galvanized lag bolts.

There are also planks on top of the 4x4s on the bottom to make a false floor. I filled this floor with old towels to catch any water in case of a plumbing disaster. They worked quite well when a skimmer tube came off and pumped approx. 50 gallons into them. I had to cut a section of the side out to allow the plumbing from the tank overflow. I added the extra supports to be sure there was not a problem.

Every time I mention the tank to someone with mechanical background they always say-"ya' know that is a lotta weight-sure you did everything strong enough?" And then they come and see it. They can see that the corners are strong enough to hold it -so they push on it-no movement- they lean on it-no movement. I don't even worry...but if they really thought it would move-why on earth would they push on it?
I have had many All-Glass brand 55 gallon stands made of particle board and they scare me to death. I decided I didn't want to have to worry-so is it overbuilt? defiantly. Could I have probably used 2x4s? probably. If I had to do it all over again would I make it any different? nope.


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That's a impressive amount of wood. How do you brace the corner joints (keep them square)? Bolts?

When the sides are on, are they the main thing that resists shearing, or is that just the job of the corners? I often find that either diagonal bracing, plywood side panels, or diagonal corner braces help resist the "structure folds up" sort of failures (either when the top rotates or moves sideways relative to the bottom). I also took to heart something a contractor once told me: although a 4x4 has a lot more wood than a pair of 2x4s (because they're not really those dimensions by the time you get them) a pair of 2x4s nailed or bolted to each other is still sometimes more reliable, because they come from 2 different tree parts, so if there's a knot, crack, or other flaw in one, it's very unlikely that there's a flaw in the same area of the other, but with a 4x4, a weak spot will go through the whole piece.

I'm not meaning this to come across as a criticism, I just like learning and talking about the tradeoffs in design... in fact, I think your arrangement is very elegant, and I'm expecting you avoided diagonals and such so that you could have open access on all 4 sides... but that does mean that your corners have to be extra beefy!
How do you brace the corner joints (keep them square)? Bolts?
All four 4x4s are bolted together twice and since all the lumber is the same size it fit together nicely. The top and bottom are also nailed together to the 3/4 inch plywood. I used a good chop saw to be sure that all the edges and corners were square and plumb.

When the sides are on, are they the main thing that resists shearing, or is that just the job of the corners? ....

The doors have add no support at all, they are held on by magnets. The corners and the cross beams are the major workhorses. The side beams just hold it all together and support the edges. This tank is also alot different than a show style tank, it is short and wide. I was mostly worried about the bottom glass cracking if the support was not even or had any imperfections.

I'm not meaning this to come across as a criticism...
Never! I love talking about tank plans and new systems for filtration or stands. I am very open to suggestions or planning for the future. I wish I took everyone's advice before and used glass for the sump. I am not worried about the stand, but the tubs failing because I have so much water flowing all the time (approx 30 GPM)


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Very nice!

I was going to use simpson ties and angled braces, but since I have seen your design, I may have to copy it. How tall is the stand...I wan't to go 36-40 and bolt it to the wall.

Fun stuff!
My stand is 38 inches from the floor to the bottom of the tank. I built it to accomodate the height of the skimmer (but I also have the false bottom so it could really fit a larger skimmer). The height also includes the builders foam I have on top of the plywood to stop any imperfections too small to see.
Thales;84982 said:

Are you very tall? That pick looks like it was taken from up high. :smile:

LOL! I'm 6'5"-
Guess that is why I don't have a problem reaching the back of the tank either.
I can give the stands exact stand dimensions if you need me to, might as well not re-invent the wheel-rather improve on it.

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