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Old 05-17-2010, 12:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

Greetings all,
I have been out of the hobby for about 15 years now. It’s time to jump back in. I have always wanted to do a nicely aquascaped freshwater aquarium. I am going to start with a 20 gallon long tank (30” X12” X12”). I really like the proportions of this size. I have been reading many of the journals on here, and thought I should probably document mine in the same way.
As I am a firm believer in the 7 “Ps” (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance); I am starting with the plans first. I have put together a composite of images in PhotoShop that are the inspiration for the project. I stole the aquarium image from another website and do not have the info to tell you who it belongs to, sorry about that. Hopefully, in the end the aquarium will look something like this…



Anyway, here we go...

GW
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Substrate Heating Engineering

SUBSTRATE HEATING ENGINEERING

I know that using substrate heating is absolutely not necessary in the planted tank. My primary purpose for using it is to set up convection currents near the bottom of the tank to encourage increased water mixing without resorting to additional surface agitation.

Now, the secondary purpose is that I am a big ol’ geek that loves diy projects and making simple things far more complicated than they need to be. Additionally, mixing water and electricity adds that certain something that really makes this project attractive.

That said, let’s begin our engineering process. The most comprehensive site concerning diy substrate heating is this page by Dan Resler and Uwe Behle. Their premise is to build a low-wattage system that can be used year round without radically affecting the temperature of the water; again, the purpose being to keep the substrate just slightly warmer than the temperature of the tank to induce micro currents to distribute nutrients and turn over the water column.

In their article they describe a system where the design calls for between 0.1 and 0.2 watts of power per liter. We will use .15 watts giving us about 30% leeway one way or the other for fudge factor.
First let’s convert to American measurements:

.15 Watts per liter = .57 watts per gallon

Now, what is our actual tank volume in gallons?

Our interior measurements come out to: 29.5” X 11.5” X 11.75” = 3986.2 cubic inches

3986.2 / 1728 (cubic inches in one cubic foot) = 2.3 cubic feet

2.3 cubic feet * 7.48 gallons per cubic foot = 17.25 gallons of water

17.25 gallons * .57 watts = 9.8 watts needed for our substrate heater.

Now let’s start working out electrical requirements. We want to use as little voltage as possible for safety reasons. However, we also have to consider the availability of high quality transformers and what voltages they are available in. Hammond power transformers are some of the best that are available. 6.3 volts is a very common and available voltage for these transformers, so that will be our starting point.

First we have to find out the amount of resistance that we need to develop 9.8 watts of heat. We do that with the following formula:

Resistance (ohms) = volts * volts / power in watts

6.3 * 6.3 / 9.8 = 4 ohms

We now have enough information to determine what size (in amps) transformer to use. Ohms law is states that Amps are equal to Volts/Ohms.

6.3 Volts / 4 Ohms = 1.57 Amps

If we go to Hammond’s enclosed power transformer page we find they have a very nice 6.3 Volt 4 Amp transformer in the model 167N6. Drawing only 1.57 amps from a 4 amp transformer will keep coasting along without overheating and resulting in a much longer life and less heat (per pound of transformer) generated.

Now we need some wire to use as heating cable. We know we need 4 ohms of resistance. We need to have enough wire to stretch back and forth across the bottom of tank as many times as possible within reason. If we space our cables about 3/4 to 1 inch apart, that would give us about 37 feet of wire under our substrate.

If we divide 4 Ohms by our 37 feet we get:

4 Ohms / 37 feet = .108 Ohms per foot of wire.

There are many pages on the web listing the resistance per foot of wire we find that 30 gauge wire at .103 Ohms per foot is just about perfect for our heating cable.

30 gauge Kynar insulated wire is readily found at our local Radio Shack with model number: 278-502 it is sold as Insulated Wrapping Wire in Red, White or Blue.

How close did we come to our goal of 9.8 Watts?

37 feet * .103 Ohms = 3.8 Ohms

6.3 Volts / 3.8 Ohms = 1.67 Amps

To determine wattage, we multiply Volts times Amps:

6.3 Volts * 1.67 Amps = 10.4 Watts

How many watts per gallon?

10.4 Watts / 17.25 Gallons = .6 Watts per gallon, well within our 30% tolerance.

So that’s the start. We’ll order a transformer, run to Radio Shack and pick up the wire and other odds and ends we’ll need. Not sure when we’ll get to this, but it gets filed in the planning notebook for the aquarium.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

Hi Gary,

Looks like this is going to be a fun journal, I'll be watching as things progress.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

Wow - Very different insight and ideas, and a super informative way to show what you're thinking and how to do it, too. Subscribed! Please keep posting and welcome to APC!

I believe the pic is one of the stages of the Bosco tank? Love that tank.
http://www.aquaticscapers.com/en/con...detail=128&z=1
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

Thanks so much.
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Sucking Bilge Water

SUCKING BILGE WATER

Or, Why I Like Sumps


As a kid growing up with my 5 gallon steel framed tank, the one thing I hated, was all the “crap” that had to be visible in the aquarium. There was a heater, floating thermometer, corner filter with its air hose and the ubiquitous air stone bubbler with its hose.

I tried hiding them with plants and that helped, but they were still there. In junior high, I learned how to bend laboratory glass tubing using a propane torch. That helped with the airlines a little bit, at least the glass didn’t look as fogged up as the airline tubing, and I could keep it all in a corner.

As time went on, we got all-glass tanks with just a top and bottom rim. Under gravel filters got rid of the box in the corner, but we still had a heater and the riser tubes for the under gravel filter.

As I have been getting back into the aquarium hobby, I’m spending way too much time reading both books and the Internet. I ran onto a number of build outs of reef tanks that are using sumps for the filter and to put their heating, protein skimmers and the rest of the endless line of equipment that is meant to keep their ungodly expensive critters alive.

I reasoned that I could use the same idea for a planted tank. I wouldn’t have near the amount of junk in it, but I could move my heaters, CO2 reactor, filter and anything else I might need down there. Since I’m going with a 20 gallon (really 17.25) gallon tank, I thought that a 10 (actually 9.5) gallon tank would be more than adequate for the sump. Additionally it would give me about 200 square inches of increased surface area for gas exchange (both good and bad)

Then another idea struck me. One of the downsides to CO2 injection is that at night the CO2 levels rise dramatically and O2 levels drop as photosynthesis shuts down. Well, what if we fill 2/3 of our sump with something like Anacharis and used reverse timing on the lights. That is, we will turn on the lights inside the stand and over the plants in the sump when the main aquarium lights go off. We should see a much more stable environment. O2 & CO2 levels should remain fairly constant, and there should be less fluctuation in PH over the 24 hour cycle.

While probably not totally necessary (you will learn that I am a belt and suspenders guy) we can create a divider between the plants and the pump/heater/CO2 reactor chamber that will act as a bio filter with Poret filter foam. This 2” (also available in 4") thick foam has been used in Europe for years. It only needs to be cleaned about once a year and it seems to last forever. I was turned on to it by Eric Bodrock when he did a presentation at the Great Salt Lake Aquarium Society a few nights ago. It is available from Swiss Tropicals. This is NOT the same foam you buy at the LFS.

The foam is ordered. I picked up a 10 gallon at PetCo on my lunch break. So, let the games begin.

Now I need some advice from you…

What is the proper amount of turnover for a planted tank? I have read that you want much less than an unplanted, much more than an unplanted and the same as a reef tank. I suspect it is less to prevent loss of CO2, but how much? Once an hour? Twice an hour? Four times an hour?

Thanks,

Last edited by gwclark; 05-18-2010 at 05:33 PM..
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

You're totally going to dig this, gw. This was the howto for my first sump, which was connected to my first tank, which was a metal framed 8g Pemco from the 1960s: http://members.dslextreme.com/users/...owto_fuge.html (also, props to that isp for keeping those pages around years after leaving them!)

You'll appreciate the application of your reverse photoperiod and other details from the last post. My best advice? Sumps are cool, but FW fuges are super cool. Leverage your sump idea into something so much more.

Also read this, which includes, among others, nfrank's tips with sumps and refugiums, and should help you brainstorm.
https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...p-why-not.html
Quote:
What is the proper amount of turnover for a planted tank?
You seem to understand there is no right answer here. So, here's mine: you are tech, brother, and your tank should be too: plan for high light, plenty of turnover, and your goal to ensure good distribution of nutrients and CO2 through both sump and main tank. You can always tee or reduce flow on the return anyway.

Also read this:
https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...at-s-your.html

(I understand you have done much research. I'm suggesting the folks who participated in those specific threads have the experience, ideas, and exchange of information that makes APC unique.)

Typing it again: pimp post, man.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

Hi Gary,

My filtration is: based on water volume about 6 - 10X; based tank volume 5 -8X depending on the tank in question.

I also move "extra" water without filtration.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

Seattle Aquarist! Thanks for the input. I really appreciate help from those that have more experience. I'm going to shoot for 4X to 6X and see how that works out.

Hey Wet!

Man, I appreciate the reply, but you busted my bubble. I thought I had some new ideas! Looks like everything I've talked about has already been done. Even the Poret foam! nfrank is using that in his sump in the same way I planned on. Well, it goes to show there are really no new ideas.

That said, if you follow a path of research you are always going to find those that walked the path before you.

The design I have in mind will allow the sump to be used for a refugium with no changes. It will just be planted much heavier than a display tank would be. This would actually make it better for the smaller critters anyway.

And I have to say YOU ARE A WILDMAN! drilling a glass tank with a Dremel! I almost fell out of my chair.

Thanks all for your input and support.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Yet Another 20 Gallon Long...

Hey - my documented experience with planted sumps/refugiums is one of the contributions I'm most proud of in our hobby, so your words are very kind to me. But with just this thread right here, the only thing stopping you from being a Plantbrain or Walstad or Ghori or nfrank or niko like voice to me is you putting it together and showing us pictures of your plants. No joke. We're just in the same bubble on the sump thing and share good company.

That first hole was scary!
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