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I'm getting a quote from A.G.E. today on the tank. Already have one from a company in Georgia. Again, Planet Aquarium was a no-go because they do not do acrylic.
The guy at A.G.E. warned me that because of the rise in petroleum, the acrylic will cost more. Just how much more I will find out. The quote from the guy in Georgia seemed reasonable, but shipping is a killer. In my thinking, he likely does not produce tanks in the same volume as A.G.E. and might have acrylic stockpiled (that will not be effected by the recent price increase). That said, I would be willing to pay a little more for the product that A.G.E. puts out.
Niko -- you absolutely recommend a U-shape flow? This tank is very long at 8' and rather shallow at 12" of water. I'm going to push the water with a canister filter rated at ~440 gph in ~84 gallons (and perhaps also use a circulation pump). I know you promote even more filtration flow, but I'll have to address that later if I want to do so. I will have sand as a substrate and I don't want it to be pushed around too much.
The canister will be raised so that the tubing will be rather short. Sponge prefilters will be used. I plan on having medium-pieces of lava rock for biological filtration in most of the filter. I currently have these pieces in my 46 bowfront.
Holes will be drilled in the top bracing once I determine which company I'm going with and finalize the filtration configuration. Right now, I'm planning on having the U-shape flow.
Question for anyone: Concerning the dynamics of the flow in the tank, what might I expect?
There will be little obstruction, with streamlined driftwood and smooth rock. The tank is quite shallow. My thinking is that the turbulence will be greater in a shallow tank. What will happen when the water is pushed on the surfaced to the far end?
I think I will initially fill the tank with water (no driftwood, rocks, sand or plants), drop in some dye and observe the flow at a lower rate. Then I might increase the flow with small solid items and watch where they end up.