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Old 03-29-2006, 07:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help in making filtration changes...

Greets all...

I've been lurking around here for a while now as I try to catch myself back up in the hobby. I was, during my pre and active college years, an avid fishkeeper. I dabbled in plants off and on during that time but nothing serious. Now I'm married, with kids and a dog and getting back into the swing of things.

I dusted off some old equipment that I've carried around for a number of years after my folks bought the kids a 75 gal for Christmas. So much for the kids, eh? lol Anyway... I had a 5 gal biotower and a extra 20L that I've setup as a wet/dry and sump. Also installed a RO/DI for the tank (which I have not yet hard plumbed in). So my current setup goes as follows...

Tank Setup:
75 Gal / Glass top
biotower (5 gal of balls) + 15 Gal sump
RO/DI System in stand
230 W 6700K CF light set
CO2 Injection system (AquaMedic 1000 + 10# CO2 Tank + SMS122 Controller)
Fine Black Sand - Top Substrate Layer (~1-2")
Flourite - Base Substrate (~3-4")
Substrate Heater (Red Sea)

Alternanthera reineckii
Echinodorus bleheri
Echinodorus osiris
Echinodorus tenellus
Heteranthera zosteraefolia
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Mayaca fluviatilis
Myriophyllum heterophyllum

4-5 Otocinclus affinis
4-5 Otocinclus vittatus

As I sit here writing this, the quiet trickle of the overflow is reminding me of two things, what I started to write about (changing the filtration), and why.

I want to get rid of the biotower system and overflow for several reasons. First, it simply turns the surface water over too much and it's not a closed system (dissolved gasses escape much to quickly, or so it would seem). I've slowed the flow to a bare minimum and let me get my CO2 ppm from about 4 to almost 7.5 or so. Even with a maximal flow of CO2 to my reactor I can't get it higher. I suppose there could be something else buffering that exchange, but the tank is new and run on RO/DI water.

Secondly, I want some room in the cabinet to get my RO/DI running full time for top off, etc. I do love having a sump though and hate to give it up, but that dang overflow really drives me nuts when I'm in my office (right next to the tank) and I hear it trickling (guys, you know what I'm talking about).

I was considering the following: Rena XP3 with the reactor hooked inline on the return with a Hydor inline heater. Pretty basic and I figure I can mount an nipple inline for the RO/DI to pump directly into the inbound line for top offs and water changes, although really a sump would be more ideal for that. Also, this "closed" system will greatly increase gas retention in the overall system.

Your comments and a direction are greatly apprecaited... thanks!

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Old 03-31-2006, 05:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm in the same boat as you. I have a wet/dry and I don't like the "trickling" either...

I have fixed the noise problem to a great extent by running PVC pipe instead of the ribbed tubing that connects the overflow to the sump. I also removed the bioballs and installed a micron filter in the sump area. My sump pipe is below the water line so no noise there from water entering the sump.

My return pipe is branched off into 4 sections... that way I reduce the surface agitation and the flow is much more gentle. Plus it disperses my CO2 mist a lot better throughout the tank.
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey Grady, good to have here. Listen, I know you have all this stuff already, but if you switch from your current filtration system to a cannister, it seems to me, you'd make your life easier. An in-line reactor should work well then. Then you could use the 15gal sump as a second tank. Just a thought.
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the comments guys...

Last night I was in the mood, so, I ripped out the tower, drained the sump and pulled it. My wife freaked knowing that once I start removing things it usually gets expensive. So I decided, for the time being, to remove the tower (it was basically mounted above the sump waterline) and cut some acrylic to make another divider in the sump giving me about a 12"x12"x8" intake area that I filled with the bioballs. Ya, I know, I really need to get rid of them, but I bought them in the old days and they cost me a fortune. I made an input box from my overflow below the waterline in the sump and also made the waterline above the balls.

I removed the secondary pump that I had running the reactor and just hooked the reactor inline on the return. Got it all plumbed back in this evening and all seems to be running well. Much quieter! It seems to be taking on more CO2 as well, which was one of the primary goals too. I couldn't seem to get it to hold more then about 6-7 ppm. Even moved my probe to the sump as well.

Anyway... in the next month (my birthday is in April, *snicker*) I plan to pickup an XP3, or a Fluval (not sure the number, 404?) and a Hydor inline to replace the sump. It is going to suck working out of the tank for things, but that's life; I'll get used to it. However, it'll be nice to have a quarenteen tank, or well, that's what it'll be initially, you know how that goes.

I also need to figure a way to get my RO/DI live for top-offs without a sump. Perhaps I will look into a 10gal tank for a sump to dose in, top-off, and for monitoring, we'll see what happens. I just don't like the idea of running multiple systems.

Anyway.. thanks again guys! I think we are certainly all in agreement as to what will work best in the long run.

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