My art piece :)

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djdover

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Hey Fishlorians.

This is a great website and I have learnt heaps from it already but I’m hoping I can pick at the people’s brains here as I build my new freshwater tank/filter/stand combo.

I also figure this might be a good place to document my process as well for anyone interested. My tank that I am currently using is 31cm x 31cm x 61cm (1x1x2ft) which is about 15USG/55L – I got it for free off a classified website (Gumtree). My plan was to build the tank so that all the filtration and tank equipment is hidden.

Beware this is likely to be a long post and I will likely have many questions. Any answers/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

My plans include building a wooden tank stand and concealing the filter inside it along with a sump/refugium. I’ve already drilled three holes in the tank (output, input, over flow) for plumbing and have purchased several PVC bit’s and bobs.

Here is a picture of the holes I have drilled. Two on the left (top overflow, input to filter/sump) and one on the right (output from sump back into the DT)



Photo with some PVC pieces attached, nothing has been siliconed yet so that I can put it together and change in the mean time:



Below is a picture of the concept I am planning on building.



So it has the tank on top (obviously) and is made out what will hopefully appear to be 4 large pieces of wood. Plus another thin bit (I’ve already made this bit) under the tank supported on several pieces of round metal piping. The same piping will be used for legs so that it all matches. It has the hole in the middle which can be used as a small bookshelf (maybe some fishy books).

I’m heavily considering having it as an open top tank with a nice mini waterfall feature going into it from the sump pump and plants coming out of the top, and have the lighting (Considering an LED bar the good aquarium shop recommended) hanging from the roof – Any thoughts and opinions on this? I’m planning on taking as long as I need to get the whole tank right.

From the DT output, the water will run down into the left hand wooden column and into a trickle filter system made out of a plastic draw system. Here is a photo of it here:



This is how this part of the filter will work. The water will go down the lower hole in the tank through PVC piping which bend to be inside the tank stand so that the rest of the plumbing, except the pipe itself, is hidden in the tank stand. Inside the stand it will go through a ball valve will allow me to easily adjust the output flow rate. It will then enter a spray bar that I have made up as shown in the pictures below:







From there the water then trickles through the 4 draws I have in the system. This would be another question I have. What should be put in these draws? I have ceramic noodles for the bottom draw, fine filter (large cut to size/shape) mesh sheet which I have cut out a part for a draw. Large cut to size AC sheet (same size as filter mesh). I was wondering what I should have for the last draw or if I have something I don’t need. I was thinking a rough mesh for the top draw or something so I have several levels of mechanical filtration then (less media changes)…



From the filter, it will travel down a pipe fixed to the center of the last draw and head to the sump/refugium. The first section will likely be the heater, then a refugium, then the sump/place for return pump. Sorry for lack of technical terms. Couple of questions for this section…

What else do I need if anything? What’s a bubble trap for/do I need one? Which order should equipment be in? What do I need to consider if I want to design the tank so it can be used for Saltwater later on in its life if I so choose? Any other thoughts on the sump?

From there the pump sends it back and all is healthy. In the tank it will have a latex rock background which I hope to find a way of attaching a few plants to.



Sorry for the extremely long post but I hope I get lots of replies and input so I get this right. I really want this to be a tank and stand I keep for many many years.
 

Akari_32

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wow thats really neat! sorry i dont have any input, but its cool idea =D dont forget to keep us posted on how it goes ;D
 
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djdover

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Thanks for the encouragement. Nothing like a free tank to start a hobby!
 

Butterfly

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Love the back ground! A friend puts corkbark in the back of his tanks and uses just a tiny dot of silicone to attach plants to the back ground Looks really great when it grows in and the tiny bit of silicone doesn't hurt the plants.
Free tanks are awesome!
Carol
 

funkman262

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I'm interested to see how this works when it's finished. I'm sorry but what is the purpose of the lower left hole? And how did you decide on the hole sizes? I don't know for sure, but you may need a larger hole for the overflow to keep up with the pump if you want a decent amount of flow rate in there. I'm a little confused on how your hiding anything in the stand. From what I understand, the only empty space will be used as a bookshelf. Is the filter and the sump going to be placed next to the stand? Have you chosen a sump size yet? Keep in mind that larger is better. As far as designing the sump, there's no clear-cut rules. You just design it for your own purposes. I highly recommend looking through this website to learn more about sumps and check out different sump designs. A bubble trap is a set of baffles that prevents microbubbles from making it into the return chamber. It's more for aesthetics than anything because the last thing you want is your display tank being ruined by a continuous flow of tiny bubbles. When designing the height of the baffles, you need to consider overflow into the sump when the power goies out (or the pump fails). This is why most people only run their sumps halfway full. As far as converting to Saltwater, you might just want to make sure there's room for a protein skimmer, but nano-skimmers are pretty small and don't need a whole lot of space. I just built one that hardly takes up any space at all. Other than that, the only thing you'll be needing to change is the fuge (add chaeto instead of whatever you're putting in there now). Hope this helps for now and I'll be tagging along
 
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djdover

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Thanks for the suggestion of using silicone to put the plants in the background. I will definitely have to try that! What happens if the plants die though? Can you just pull them out?

Thanks for the input funkman.

The lower left hole is the main output. The one above that which will be used for just that (unlike most other tanks where that is the main out put) Overflow from here will just return to the sump until I adjust the pump return flow rate.

As to hole size, it fits a 15mm socket with screw on the outside which a 15mm PVC 90 degree bends screws onto. Go Bunnings! (Australian hardware shop). I originally thought it would be too small as well, but I was talking to a guy at a LFS about my plans, and I asked what he thought about hole size. He pointed out that 15mm is roughly the diameter of a garden hose and there is an exceedingly large water flow from them.

So I drilled it and tested it. The spray bar actually restricts a lot of the flow due to the size of the holes on it. Without the bar, half the tank (down to the hole) drains in about a minute. Remembering we want the whole tank to cycle through the filter several times:

half tank = .5 of capacity in one minute,
60/1 = 60.
.5 x 60 = 30
capacity is 15 gal.
30x15 = 450
Pump needed is 450GPH**, that's a **** of a lot for a 15 gallon tank.

with the bar on, it takes about 5 mins.
60/5 = 12
12x15 = 180
Pump needed is 180GPH**, much more closer to something appropriate.

**Approximate, will of course vary with sump in it. But will be able to lesson the flow rate at any input/output via the ball valve.

I mentioned earlier the stand will look like 4 pieces of solid wood. I'll emphasize look. It will in fact be hollow with all the equipment hidden inside it. Like I said the pipe goes down the back then bends into the stand. The trickle filter is in the left column. The part that will have the pump in it will act as the overflow part and that will have to be the same capacity as from the to the lower hole in the DT.

If I want it smaller I'll have to add a float valve into the sump and some kind of cut off mechanism in the three pipes. I might end up doing that just for aesthetics.

Keep throwing questions at me please though if you think of any. The more I talk about it the more I make sure I've got an idea right.

Also, so the only thing that I'll need to add is a skimmer? And the rest will work the same? If so then I'll just put in a section that fits a skimmer so it's there if I ever want to.

Also, will LED lights work for plants? They're expensive (100 and something dollars for a 2foot bar) but if they work for plants (and if needed, corals in the future) they may just be a good investment. Plus it looks pretty, has some blue lights in it.

Thanks.
 

funkman262

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djdover said:
I originally thought it would be too small as well, but I was talking to a guy at a LFS about my plans, and I asked what he thought about hole size. He pointed out that 15mm is roughly the diameter of a garden hose and there is an exceedingly large water flow from them.
Maybe I'm missing something but garden hoses have a large water flow because of the pressure applied to them. They're not gravity fed like overflows.

djdover said:
Also, will LED lights work for plants? They're expensive (100 and something dollars for a 2foot bar) but if they work for plants (and if needed, corals in the future) they may just be a good investment. Plus it looks pretty, has some blue lights in it.
I don't know of many people using LEDs for plants because it's difficult to replicate sunlight with single wavelength diodes. Either way, if you decide to get them for the plants, you'd need a whole new fixture for corals because they require different wavelengths. Do you have a link for the type of fixture that you're wanting to buy?
 
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djdover

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Perhaps so with the pressure, but I still measured it and it still flows out by gravity more than adequately. I think he more meant a lot of water can still flow through a hole that size, regardless of how much pressure is there - so it was worth testing what the flow rate would be. And it proved to be plenty - until proven otherwise.

Unfortunately I don't have a link and should have thought of writing down the name of the product or something whilst I was there. I might look into it and find a link. I could easily hang the right light above a Saltwater tank though for the corals?
 

Amano

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I have seen tanks running LEDs and never seen any issue. And they work great. For me I would do it. I have left the traditional lighting an gone into normal house lights and they work way better.

IME from skimming through your original post I don't see any plan on the plant care. If take good time getting the tank set for plants you save a lot of time and money in stead of changing when they die.

Looks great thus far.

RE the hose. Some places like mine run of gravity feed water.

mac
 

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Hello DJDover,

Sounds like a great project you have going.

Have you considered having your own blog here on Fish Lore? If you would like, you can send an email to MIKE (administrator) and he'll be glad to set one up for you. See link below:
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/personal-blogs-please-read.2850/

Give him a few days to respond and set it up. Any of the Moderators can move your threads to your blog once it has been set up.

Keep us posted!

Ken
 
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djdover

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Thanks for the posts Amano and aquarist48!

Plants - I honestly don't know much except if I want to use ferts and AC I need to use fert tablets, not liquid. But plants is definitely something I want to be planning in depth. I would honestly like to have the tank set up and running with most of the plants good to go before adding to many fish. What are your thoughts on DIY C02 injectors and do I need one? It will hopefully be fairly heavily planted. There is also some dark gravel I want to use that is several mm thick, should this be suitable?

Blog - If it's ok, can I just keep this as is and see how it goes?

PS. What's the water like with a gravity fed hose?
 

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Hello,

Having a Blog is completely up to you However, I would like to move this thread to the DIY section of the forum if you don't mind. I think it may help others down the road that want to consider a Do It Yourself project such as yours.

Ken
 

Amano

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djdover said:
Thanks for the posts Amano and aquarist48!

Plants - I honestly don't know much except if I want to use ferts and AC I need to use fert tablets, not liquid. But plants is definitely something I want to be planning in depth. I would honestly like to have the tank set up and running with most of the plants good to go before adding to many fish. What are your thoughts on DIY C02 injectors and do I need one? It will hopefully be fairly heavily planted. There is also some dark gravel I want to use that is several mm thick, should this be suitable?
For me when I am doing planted and I am wanting lots of Plants I always got DIY cO2 and liquid ferts along with the fert gravel. Although I make my own fert substrate works great as long as no loaches around.

With regards to the Gravel I see no issue at all. IME I just use a clay mix and normal pond fertilizing substrate for my tanks with just sand on top or gravel and it works very well. Just watch if you have Corys or Loaches on how thick to have the top covering of gravel sand to stop them making a mess.

Now as to the DIY for cO2 I run 2 1lt bottles. The Bottles have holes through the lids with a small piece of air hose forced through, very tight, with a stop vale in case water runs out of the tank. These are connected together with a T shape plastic connector found in most pet shops. Which is then connected to the main hose to a diffusor. That is all I have run. And works very well. And dirt cheap to make.



PS. What's the water like with a gravity fed hose?
Not to bad. The tank is half way up the top of a hill. So it has quite a good amount of pressure on it. Pretty much the same as town IME, just not nice once things freeze. But never fear we have a second main to the house.
being right on a farm in town out of town type thing.

mac
 
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djdover

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Go for it Ken, wasn't sure whether to post in the new freshwater keepers forum or DIY. So if you think it's better in DIY then that's fine.

mac, I'll have to keep your advice when I start to put it all together.
 

fishyfishyfishy13

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so the drawer thing is the filter?
 

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justahobby

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Very nice!!! Looks great
 
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djdover

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Thank you. Yes the draws will make a trickle filter system. Any thoughts as to what should go in the draws? I know I need a mesh for mechanical filtration and I have cermaic noodles
 

Scott H

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IMO, you should definitely get some bio balls for one of those draws
 
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djdover

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Already decided on ceramic noodles for biological filtration tbh Scott H. Anything else that Im missing though? You know horrid feeling when it feels like your missing something really important?

Grr
 
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