Refit over? Not quite. As usual a number of misshaps delayed the progress. Let’s start with the good news. We have a new marine section! Unfortunately the new marine racks aren’t working and all the fish and inverts are still in the old racks but hey, you can’t have everything I guess. So the factory have produced the pipework to one of the racks wrong so they don’t fit in one of two systems. The main pump of the other system has been installed incorrectly, a bit too much hose between the return pump and the UV steriliser meant that the hose has bent, and he apparently forgot to fix the UV steriliser to the back of the rack because it was lying on the floor behind the sump when he left. If you want a job well done, do it yourself and that is exactly what we are going to do tomorrow morning.
On a more positive note, the plant tank has been emptied, moved and refilled and we have the new coral table running. I say new… This tank started out as the humble plant tank, then graduated to become the Goldfish tank. Now it’s taken another huge promotion as the new coral tank. It will probably be Prime Minister in a few years!
To make room for the new marine racks we had to remove the old coral tank last night. To remove any 7 foot tank made out of half inch thick glass and cabinet is never a joke. Add a 5 foot sump and the grime and dirt that comes with a marine system that stood for 6 years… It’s a nightmare. We had to empty the tank for rocks, corals, hermits, snails and fish, then the water of course. We saved as much water as possible in buckets and tubs and spread them out out in every available spot overnight. Once the tank was empty we tried to dismantle it, but the pipework that had been siliconed together was not willing to move. As the pipework was attached to the main tank and went straight through the cabinet in to the sump we decided to cut the pipework but we still had to lift the tank to a considerable height before it detached from the cabinet. Ryan, Stuart, Rab, Joe, John and myself all agreed that it was heavy!
Once the tank and cabinet had been separated we moved on to get the tank out of the door. It took six of us to get it out. Stuart and Ryan took the heaviest short sides with the rest of us helping on the long sides. This went quite well until we hit the doorway. As the 2 young slim ones was on the short sides, it turned out that I was the only person slim enough to slide myself through the door along with the tank.
By the time we came out it was only 3 of us left holding it for a few VERY scary seconds. Thankfully that part of it ended successfully, although I’m not quite sure why. I credit Stuart and Ryan.
Next came the cabinet which was considerably lighter and I let the boys get on with it whilst I started preparing the external filters for the new coral table. Minutes later Stuart comes over asking if the cichlid tank at the entrance had been there when the cabinet first arrived. My blood started freezing to ice as I knew perfectly well it hadn’t. The cichlid tank stops us from opening the door completely and that single centimeter would come to haunt us for hours. The first solution was to get the door off. Rab went home and got the tools, but when he came back it turned out that the screws were… screwed! They were worn out and would not turn no matter what we tried. We tried to dismantle the cabinet. Every screw came out but it had been siliconed together. After a lot of carrying about we finally got the bottom off. That was surely the centimeter we needed? NOT! It ended up with basically having to rip the cabinet by force into several pieces. At one point I considered taking it out through the window, even though the window doesn’t open!
The full system finally left the shop around 9pm, and we were hours behind schedule. By the time we had cleared the space for the marine racks that was due this morning, moved the plant tank in to its final destination and refilled it with 700 liters of water and set up the new coral table it was well after midnight. We were actually finished just before midnight, but obviously we had to have the traditional refit leak when the inlet hose fell off the plant tank and much of the 700 liters we had just filled started to overflow the sump. We have had bigger leaks, and this one was contained very quickly but even so, it’s never been my favourite pastime at midnight!
This morning we were back, some of us fresher than others. lol. The marine racks arrived around noon and there wasn’t too much we could do whilst they were being installed, except helping installing them as the guy turned up alone and this is not a one man job. It was around 7 before he had finished and I have already explained the result above… Och aye.
So tomorrow we open our doors to the public again but if you decide to pay us a visit be aware that this is a work in progress. Most of the fish are still to be moved, a process we cannot start until the new racks are running. The movement of tanks have made certain blemishes very obvious and a good sanding and paintwork is required in a few places. One of the main features of this refit would be the planned canopy above the counter. This was meant to give us more space for drygoods as we just lost several shelf metres to the new racks and new position of the plant tank. This canopy is still to be built. Even though we have been planning this refit since December it took the manufacturer of the new tanks until last Friday to give us an installation date. By that time, the joiner is obviously booked and all our plans went down the drain. Instead it will be a longer process, probably lasting a couple to a few weeks but we aim to remain fully open throughout the rest of it.
Then there will be a party and you are invited. We didn’t celebrate our 5th birthday nor our 6th a couple of weeks back so we are making up for it once the refit is finished. Watch this space.
In the meantime,
I’m off to rehab.