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First serious build - any advice/tips much appreciated!

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by Billy K, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Billy K

    Billy K New Member

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    Hello everyone!

    My name is Billy, a third year engineering student, and have fallen in love with the art of fish keeping!

    I'm currently on my summer break with a bit too much free time on my hands and have found myself eager in starting a cool summer project.

    I just finished renovating my study room and decided to fill a big empty space in the room with a 55 gallon tank.

    My goals for this tank:

    Tanks:
    55 gallon tank on a custom made, plywood stand
    20 gallon sump filtration

    Life:
    My number one priority in this tank is the plant life - ideally I'd like to have Monte-Carlo carpeted foreground with some red colors thrown in there for contrast. Rocks and woods I'm still debating over which path to go, it all depends on what I can get my hands on.

    My biggest concern is the noise - I'd like to have it be as quiet as possible since this tank is going in my study room. I have considered sound proofing the stand in hopes of reducing the noise and we will see how that pans out.

    Having said that, I was wondering if you guys could help me figure out an ideal set up for the sump - what kind of filtration to use (sufficient to sustain and enhance plant growth)

    Also, what would an ideal turnover be? From some research I've been reading that I need about 10 cycles/hr. 750-1000 gallons/hr to be safe?

    I look forward to your comments and tips/advice.

    Thank you so much
    -Billy K
     

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
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  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello Billy K

    Welcome to ASW
    There are a few members who have built their Sump System and they should be able to assist you.

    In the mean time I suggest you start searching for an Aquascape you would like to create.

    Insulating the Cabinet does help but if you decide to have a sump and its enclosed you will have a moisture concern inside the cabinet.

    A high quality Canister Filter can be located inside the cabinet this will certainly be quiet and eliminate the moisture concern.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  3. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi and welcome :D

    well a sump my not be the best idea, as they can be noisy esp the weir. Sump great for somewhere to put heaters out of sight etc. Sump not the best if you plan to use CO2 as they lose CO2 faster so you use more

    So you need to decide which route High or low tech tank, which route will have a big impact on cost and which plants you can grow.

    big tank is this your first tank? if you plan to use CO2 you will use quite a bit in a year. I have a 100G and used three 6.5Kg bottles in six months. Son has 10G and used next to nothing.

    Depends on which route you take High or low tech. Also chioce of water return spraybar, lily pipes etc, Plus flow will depend on choice of scape and the resistance to flow it has also depth of tank will affect flow too.

    Most folk use canister filters for there Aquascaping tanks
     
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  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    My first question is going to be: Do you plan to use pressurized CO2 supplementation? This is the biggest decision in terms of what you can do within and with what plants.

    The standard 55s are tough dimensions....damn things are narrow and deep. If you haven't gotten the tank yet I'd recommend going with a 40 breeder instead.

    For your sump...they can be more noisy. Check out the "Bean Animal Overflow" design. It is supposed to be quieter. If you use pressurized CO2, sealing the filter media area to prevent too much off gassing is advised. An independent loop with a reactor for CO2 injection or running it into the needle wheel of your return pump are options for CO2 injection with a sump that are easy and effective. Or are you going to get a drilled tank? I don't use sumps so can't get too specific in their use and noise levels. I'm familiar with them and various options...just have been more comfortable with canisters.

    For many red plants you will want CO2. Very few if any do well without it.

    10x tank volume turnover is a good guideline. Remember this is a wide distributed flow not something shooting out of a small hole at a high velocity. Ideally you want leaves gently moving in the current, but don't want plants being blown flat.
     
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  5. Billy K

    Billy K New Member

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    Thank you so much for your replies ShadowMac and Zeus! I'll get back to Zeus later today as I don't have too much time at the moment.

    ShadowMac - I've decided to go the sump route mostly due to it's versatility.

    I am also planning on drilling the tank if it isn't tempered - from what I've read most tanks nowadays only have tempered bottoms so I should be fine. I like your suggestion on a 40 breeder instead of the 55 due to it's whacky dimensions - a concern I realized after starting this thread. I haven't bought tank yet - I'm still looking for a good deal on craigslist - have a few I have my eye on at the moment.

    CO2 is not an issue - I have access to numerous CO2 tanks through my family's business and could easily design and build an injection system.

    I went ahead and did all of my research last night in terms of plumbing and would like your thoughts - overflow box in the left corner top to bottom. 2X 1" ID PVC piping for water out (1 main, 1 backup positioned slightly higher). 1 return pipe of similar size. I hope this diameter will be sufficient for my cycle needs.

    In terms of filtration I was thinking of putting together 3 stages in the sump - mechanical, k1, and misc. depending on water clarity/levels.

    What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  6. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Dont think K1 filter media would be a good option of a planted tanks esp if planning CO2, as the air going though the media/water will just create so much surface ripple which in turn increases surface area so you will lose CO2 faster, combined with the moving filter media more CO2 will be pushed up to the surface in the K1 media and you will lose more CO2. Probably hard to reach decent [CO2] levels. O2 levels would be great in the tank OFC.

    I used BIOHOME ULTIMATE FILTER MEDIA in my Fluval FX6 along side the course sponge and a little finer sponge, gave the Fluval ceramic stuff away to son.
    upload_2017-7-24_17-35-31.png

    Was planing a sump on mine after reading I didn't, plus it would fit in the end. Trouble with the Box is your stuck where it is and it only takes water from the top, so better surface ripple skims the water, but nothing removing water from lower down, so it makes sense that getting a good [CO2] at the substrate level ie carpet will also be harder.

    I have alot of pumping in my tank, did a pipe clean out at weekend.
    upload_2017-7-24_17-53-13.png

    Took quite some time to get it all done and refitted. Canister with a few flexible pipes much easier. Mine does have quite a complicated pumping system due to it being a room divider in all fairness a well design sump with decent bottle brushes you should be able to clean the pipes without removing most of them.
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    @Zeus , my thinking on how sealing the surface side of the sump works is that it essentially raises CO2 levels within the chamber so off gassing may take place at first, but eventually could reach a level where very little gasses off from the water due to the elevated levels also within the chamber. Anyways, I've never heard of planted sump folks being overly concerned about the type of media or the specific setup...only that the filtration chamber should be sealed to save CO2. Been a long while since I've had physics...so I could be thinking incorrectly here.

    @Billy K , you shouldn't need a ton of mechanical media, mostly biomedia. The overflow setup sounds similar to the bean animal. It runs two down spouts. One is running full of water, the other backup spout has just enough water moving down it to where the surface tension of the water adheres it to the sides of the PVC...this is what makes it so quiet. There is no moving air within either spout so no gurgling. The media section of the sump is of course another story. 1" is plenty big, I think. I've never run a sump system...so again take some of this with a grain of salt. From what I understand there are places you can run some calculations for your sump setups to determine pump size/pipe size, etc.

    Definitely do CO2. If it were me, I'd run an independent loop through a cerges reactor and feed the water right back into the sump near where the output pump takes its water so the CO2 saturated water is sent straight back to the tank.

    Lastly, if you want to one up the 40 breeder...go rimless and check out www.buceplant.com for a 90-U. Similar in size and shape but WAY better for scaping. Rimless tanks are the only way to go, IMO...but they also cost a bunch more.
     
  8. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Shawn- Never done sump or K1 filter myself either, thought that the K1 media was kept moving by having air bubbling though the water which in turn moves the K1 media, the air keeps the [O2] levels high so plenty of aerobic respiration takes place which in turn promotes the bacteria to grow. Hence if air is pumped in it has to come out also so it will need a vent so not sealed, which in turn will decrease [CO2]. I could be wrong on how its ketp moving OFC .
    Think T Barr might of had a Ki filter on one of his tanks in a HOB filter think it was on his open day Video - could be wrong again

    But yes if sealed the CO2 will not be lost from sump - a sump which has a 100% seal is basically a canister filter after all
     
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  9. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    ah now I know the filter media to which you are referring. Yeah, pumping in air would not be a good idea with CO2. I thought it was just moving media. Shouldn't be necessary anyways. I've seen it used in early stages of really large setups since the bacteria sloughs off and populates later stages of bio media. Its like a biomedia bacteria factory.

    Sealed sump = canister filter...yeah never really thought about it that way.
     
  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Billy K
    You have received some excellent advice its totally up to you now which way you intend to go.
    What are your thoughts now?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  11. Billy K

    Billy K New Member

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    Keith! Excellent advice indeed!

    I've made a few decisions after starting this thread;

    Tanks:

    Per ShadowMac's advice, I've decided to pick up a 40 gallon breeder and a 20 gallon from Petsmart this weekend. I did check out the rimless tank ShadowMac suggested, but as stated earlier, I am still in school so unfortunately I cannot spend too much on this build - the two tanks will cost me $100 together so I think I will be going that route.

    I'm fine with this as it is my first serious build and I think that I will learn a lot for all of my future builds, and hey, hopefully when I'm an actual engineer I'll be able to build the tank of my dreams.

    I really liked the rimless tank - having said that, the petsmart tank doesn't have side braces - only top and bottom. I'm considering removing the top brace and making it semi-rimless. Suggestions and ideas on how to reinforce it (eurobrace etc.) will be gladly appreciated.

    Since I'm tuning down the gallons needed by choosing the smaller tanks I think I should be alright running 3/4" plumbing throughout the build.

    Having said all this, I am still a little concerned about the sump design. From what I read in ShadowMac and Zeus's posts, I'll have to seal the sump - I have some ideas in my head on how to do this effectively - ensuring easy access and what not for maintenance and sump cleaning.

    I'm going ahead and purchasing the tanks this weekend so I can begin building the cabinet stand. I'll make sure to post my progress on here.

    In the mean time, as stated earlier, ideas/thoughts on the semi-rimless procedure and the internals of the sump would be much appreciated.

    Thanks again for everything guys - I truly value all of your comments and time taken out of your day to help me out - I'll try my best to help others where I can in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  12. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Billy

    Its great to see a member who has done the research and now planning the next steps.

    Keep us updated, if you are not sure about a point please ask first.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  13. Billy K

    Billy K New Member

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    Update:

    I purchased my tanks from petsmart earlier today (40 gallon breeder and a 20 gallon long). They both cost me about $100 - definite victory.

    After much skepticism I made the decision to de-rim the 40 gallon. Used a hacksaw and utility knife.

    Warning - Don't try this at home.

    The hacksaw proved effective in cutting the rim at each corner to give me 4 individual pieces to work with instead of one giant piece. Then, I used the utility knife and my thumb as a guide cutting length-wise along each rim and repeating over and over (about 6 times) to cut all the way through. Once this was done, I simply pulled the trim using both hands and the sides snapped right off. Finally, I pulled the top part of the trim and successfully managed to get all pieces off with minimal if any damage to the tank.

    To my surprise all those panels are perfectly level with each other. I assumed the rim would cover all the imperfections but there wasn't any need, glass is fine.

    Euro-brace is definitely going to be happening - I read that others have gotten away with out it, but after pulling the panels slightly apart, I envisioned the tank bursting in the room. NOPE!

    All in all the process took me about 30 minutes I'd say. I'm leaving the extremely fun part of removing all the excess silicone this weekend, prepping the tank for drilling and getting started on the stand.

    I'll post a new update next week. Cheers!

    Pics:

    De-rimmed tank:


    20170727_232337.jpg

    My new 20 gallon trash can:

    20170727_232524.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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  14. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Billy

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I did that to one of my tanks many years ago.

    A razor blade is a very good method of removing the Silicone. If you can get a backed blade its a lot safer or a strip of air line tubing will do the same thing.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  15. Billy K

    Billy K New Member

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    Could you elaborate Keith? Are you referring to the silicone removal? I'm assuming I need to use a razor to get it off, should I use acetone afterwards to remove the rest?
     
  16. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Billy
    I never used any liquids after I used the razor blade

    If any thing I might have used a scratch proof scourer pad.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vim-VIM-Scouring-Pad-Silver/dp/B00T62R146
    Just check to make sure its a non scratch
    I used one to clean the inside glass of my tanks for many years
    [​IMG]
    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  17. Billy K

    Billy K New Member

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    Update:

    So it's been a while - life kind of got in the way.

    I'm slowly getting there and I haven't hit any big road blocks yet. I managed to clean up my display tank pretty well, installed part of the euro-bracing last night, drilled and installed the bulkheads today. I'm in the process of mounting my sump baffles and should be done with that by tomorrow night.

    Hope you guys approve!

    20170809_230936.jpg 20170810_001648.jpg



    I will be posting an update this weekend - my summer classes are ending on Friday so I should be able to get the build done within the next couple weeks.



    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
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  18. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Billy

    Are you going to brace the back of the tank as well?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  19. Billy K

    Billy K New Member

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    Hey Keith, hope all is well.

    I will be bracing the back of the tank - just holding back on that until I have the overflow box installed.
     
  20. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Billy

    Just checking, looks like you are on the right track any way.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     

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