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250G High Tech Tank

toadass

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26 Aug 2010
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185
That is going to be a serious tank... good dedication mate, can't wait to see this one journal
 

Consigliere

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27 Mar 2009
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53
I'm looking at the dates on these posts and it seems like I get the itch to work on this project about this time every year. What turned out to be the most difficult aspect of the entire project was completely overlooked by me when I designed this tank. Moving it to my basement was an absolute nightmare. Professional movers turned down the job but in the end my two brother-in-laws, my dad and myself moved it from my garage to my basement.

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Making the Plan

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Not the most comfortable moment

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Don't let go
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Almost there



Almost two years from delivery it finally makes it into my house.

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Front view

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Better lighting


I can finally get started on all the setup. The plumbing will be the first job. The filter the second. That will be the moment of truth on filling this thing with water and getting the pumps going. I'll be posting the drainage plumbing design shortly.
 

Consigliere

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27 Mar 2009
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It's time to finally move the design from paper to actual parts. The drain system is setup so that the water level in the tank is determined by the horizontal pipe at the top. The two capped ends will be used to vent any air by attaching some hosing. Ball valves provide full isolation for each drain. They also provide the capability for a quick 1/3 water change. The lowest drain in the tank will be used mainly for draining almost the whole tank if it's needed. Total output at maximum drainage will be two full 1.5" ABS pipes. The ball valves can potentially provide some more sophisticated flows but I don't think I will use it that way very often, if ever.

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Drain plumbing

A weakness of this system is all the threaded parts. The ball valve fittings to 1.5" straight pipe is threaded and the connection to the drain bulkheads to the tanks is threaded. Any recommendations for good teflon tape for ABS piping? The taping job will probably determine if I have any leaks when it starts up.

Anyone see any fatal flaws in this setup?

It will drain from the two down going 1.5" pipes into a 70G sump filter. At the end of the drain lines will be a DIY "muffler" installed inside the sump to try and minimize the noise of the whole system.
 

foxfish

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Joined
11 Oct 2009
Messages
4,657
Location
Guernsey
Excellent project :)
I am interested in the pipe work & your plans to operate the overflow system.
The pipe you are using looks like waste water pipe & not pressure pipe?
I was also wondering how you intend to prevent back flow from the submerged return pipe (spray bar)?
Are you going to use overflow boxes?
 

Consigliere

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27 Mar 2009
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The drainage system posted is ABS waste water pipe. The supply system and CO2 reactor will be schedule 40 PVC.

Good question on the supply, how to eliminate backflow. I'm thinking that I will run a line of tubing from the supply piping over the top of the tank and have it flow into the tank. The end of the tubing will be above the water line. This way, if the pump stops the tubing will suck in air and should break the vacuum. Hopefully that will work well enough.
 

foxfish

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11 Oct 2009
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4,657
Location
Guernsey
I guesse your idea to break the syphon should work although there might be quite a bit of water flow before this happens unless you use quite big pipe to get above the water line.
You could carry the feed pipe to just above the water line & fit a non return air valve on top of the pipe instead of retuning the pipe over the top but, if you leave enough space in the sump for excess overflow water the syphon idea should break in time?
Can you explain how your overflow pipe will work, are you going to have overflow boxes?

You may want to consider a slightly different approach....bear in mind overflowing water will very efficiently disperse the c02 content from the actual water that is overflowing as it is exposed to the air.
On that basis you could recirculate some of the water from the return pump withing the sump so there is good gas exchange & active bacterial benifits but run much less water over the overflows. Then you can use a closed circuit via a separate pump to feed the reactor & spray bar plus add the necessary flow within the display tank.
By doing this you will also avoid any potential noise from the overflow as there will just be a gentle flow ?
 

Consigliere

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27 Mar 2009
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The overflow will work like this...I hope:

The valving on the drainage system can be setup so that drainage only occurs by pushing water out the drilled drain ports (3) in the tank and forces water to the top pipe that runs horizontal. The water will then drain down the two down facing pipes into the sump. The idea is that the top horizontal pipe will essentially control the water level. The water level in the tank should remain constant this way and only the sump system will have fluctuating water level. The sump is going to have a return pump and a sump pump which is plumbed to the house drain. Whenever water level in the sump goes to a certain level, float switch will engage the sump pump and start putting water to drain.

The siphon break will require some experimentation to ensure that it works adequately. May need to size up from tubing to 1/2" PEX or something like that. It will take some extra thought and trials but we'll see how it goes. The good thing is that the sump will have a pump to get rid of extra water in case there are a few gallons extra siphoned off before the siphon break. I'm also thinking that I will include an additional 20G of sump capacity only for overflow capture and/or water conditioning. Don't want to flood my basement!

The sump design is still a work in progress and will depend partly on being able to fit everything underneath the display tank. Right now I'm planning a 48"x12"x12" 70G taking for the main sump (divided into sections obviously) and a 20G additional sump for overflow capture and water conditioning. Could also be used for an isolation tank if required.
 

Consigliere

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27 Mar 2009
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The last few weeks I've been installing the drainage plumbing onto the bulkheads. A few design changes were necessary as I installed things to make sure there was room for the return plumbing. The isolation valves for the rightside upper drain bulkhead will be hard to get to so I think I'm going to drill a hole in the valve handles and put a threaded rod and nut through it so I can pull it open or closed from above. Here's a couple shots of the drainage plumbing installed.

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The next step was to turn my old 70G tank into the filter. I'm doing a sump setup underneath the stand. The design is based on a bunch of nice saltwater sumps I've seen on the internet. I chose Lexan for the dividers. Glass would've been better but Lexan was easier to get and wasn't overly expensive. It took a little bit to figure out how best to cut it. There are a few chips out of some of the dividers that hopefully will be filled with silicone. You'll see I didn't spare any silicone when I installed the dividers. Before I installed each divider I sanded the surface that was going to be siliconed to the glass. Hopefully the extra surface area will make a strong enough bond to stand up to the flows in the sump. Here's the photos of the transformation of the 70G tank to the sump:

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The pump mounts have some rubber grommets siliconed in below the screw heads. There will be 2 more rubber gromets sandwiching each pump mount with stainless washers and nuts to keep everything together and vibrating without hitting the glass.

With everything installed here we are:

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Overall the filter has 5 distinct features. A submerged return pump, a bubble trap before the return pump. 2 sections of bio filtration, sump pump with float switch connected to the house drain and a 15G or so refugium. The sump pump still needs to be installed but the plumbing is all in place.. The refugium will initially be used for keeping isolation from new fish while getting them exposed to tank conditions. After that I'll use it to grow some plants.

The next part of the project is the plumbing for the return system. I have some check valves on order that I need to get that finished. There will be 3 of them for redundancy since check valves aren't as reliable as an above water siphon break. I decided to give up on doing a siphon break and spend some extra money on heavy duty check valves. The return system will include a 3" PVC CO2 reactor with injection via pressurized CO2 and regulator.

Here's how everything looks together right now:

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Consigliere

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Curious what the issue is with running the CO2 canister on its side. This isn't the final position for it but I was planning on keeping it horizontal , or close to it. What's the failure you would introduce? CO2 dump?
 

Consigliere

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Am now educated on why the CO2 canister can't go on its side. Although I didn't design the stand to take the CO2 tank standing up, luckily it did.

Just had a brainstorm.

Instead of having a CO2 reactor in the plumbing, why not just install the CO2 tubing into the center of the PVC fitting on the intake of the pump? Pump should chop up the gas quite a bit for quick diffusion into the water and simplifies the plumbing immensely. Also saves me about $120 in plumbing parts.

Anyone tried this before? Thoughts?
 

Consigliere

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Been going pretty hard the last few nights on getting this tank going.  The check valves arrived Friday and I got to work on the return plumbing.  I had a last minute change of design and didn't go with a CO2 reactor out of PVC.  Instead I decided to use a 1300 L/h powerhead hooked up to a 36W UV tube.  The UV/powerhead setup will move water from the return pump chamber in the sump to the first chamber after the drainage chamber.  The CO2 will be bubbled into the inlet of the powerhead.  I modified the impeller based on a design I found by Tom Barr.  Should be similar to a needle wheel impeller, hopefully.

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Here's a few photos of the finished plumbing setup.  Right now I'm two crimp rings short of being able to fire the tank up.  The water supply from the house system is piped in with pex and there is a termination end with an irrigation manifold for adding drippers.  The drippers aren't installed yet.  Here's the tap and drip supply:

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There is also a tap at the top of the tank for directly filling there.

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The return plumbing, UV tube and sump pump plumbing is pictured here.  The sump pump is hooked up to the house drain with a float switch for hopefully automatic water changes.  Also pictured is the Milwaukee CO2 controller.

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I also got the first of 3 T5HO light fixtures installed.  Each fixture has two 80W bulbs installed.  The bulbs are Giesmann 4x Midday and 2x Aquaflora.  Total of 480W might be a bit much so I think I will start with mounting them as far from the tank as possible.  Each light will be run independently on timers with I think only about an hour per day will all 3 fixtures on.  The majority of the time I think I will run only 2 fixtures.  I will try and run something similar to a daylight cycle where only 1 light will be on to start and end a day and two on for a few hours.  All 3 on to simulate high noon.

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The lights are held on with PVC coated aircraft cable hanging from brass hooks.  I'm going to add some hooks to be able to lower light easily but for now high up is all I need.

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Tomorrow I'll finish of the pex water supply and we'll hopefully be able to have our first test run.  Crossing my fingers there are no leaks.
 

Consigliere

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27 Mar 2009
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So I started the tank up and there is good news and bad news. Good news is the tank and stand are good, filter works great. Pumps, sump pump all function as expected. But 3 leaks in the plumbing that need to be fixed.

Decided to go ahead and cut out the leaking plumbing and start new. Seems to be no method for 100% long term no leaks without installing new fittings.

I'll be simplifying a lot of the plumbing at the time too. Since the leaks were only drips I ran the tank for about 2 hours figuring out the different functionallty and to make sure everything was working well. Everything generally worked fine but I realized there is no need for some of the plumbing features. I'll take a bunch of that out and have a better setup in the end.

I've also decided on substrate. I'm going to be getting 14 bags of Netlea black for the substrate.
 

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