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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks, long time no see! After 16 months in Japan and a month in transition between my old job and new I am finally in my new place and am as excited as ever to be keeping tanks again! The old setup may have been a journey out of my dreams, but this new life-stage truly is the beginning of an era for me. I've finally found an awesome job with a company who plans on keeping me around for a while. No more consulting or funding-reliant research gigs for me! Stability is the name of the game now.

My new place has an unfinished basement and two massive former reef tanks ready to be cleaned and set up anew. Each is 6' long x 3' wide x 2' high (that's 18 square feet of plants!); 6 inches wider than my old 225. Thank God I'll have access from the rear or planting and trimming would be a wet experience. Both tanks are drilled with 2" holes in the rear panel so I'll be getting some nice overflows made for them. One is going to be a full out as high tech as I can make it planted and the other's going to be a reef of some sort.

The current install plan is to use T5 lighting, filter with a sump (hopefully a nice custom one), run a dedicated needle wheel/mesh modded pump for CO2, and all that jazz. Substrate will be Brightwell Aquatics' plant substrate and their whole line of planted supplements. Since they're all liquid I hope to be able to get a set of peristaltic pumps for auto dosing.

Aquascaping will eventually be Dutch style. Fish? I have no idea yet.

Enough chatter, here're the pics.

Oh, FYI. Progress may be slow at first. There are a lot of things I need to get taken care of before I can put water in there.

Both tanks:


Front view:


Plumbing holes:


Yup, that's 36 INCHES!


Updates will be a lot more frequent than with my last build. Unlike last time I now have a camera to take regular pictures with...and I live by myself now. What money the student loan folks, bank, and gov't leave me is all mine to do with as I please. FREEDOM!!!
 

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Uhh....Wow! I'm digging the side by side dual set up. May make it a bit of a challenge to photograph.....and with such glorious width parameters, I might want to keep that one side, currently covered by the other monster tank, viewable. Regardless, it will look stunning any way you arrange things.

You could do some incredible winding hardscape in there, Phil! Whatever you decide to do, it will look amazing!

Just curious: why not get dry ferts and make your own solutions to put into your autodoser? Probably would be the cheapest option, unless you are getting your products for near-free amounts.

Subscribed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Don, you're the first to post, woo! Go interwebz nurd cred!

I'm actually hoping to move them farther apart soon. We've got some metal stands that I'll be swapping out for the wood stands. When that happens I'm going to see about getting the tanks moved around a bit. I want access to all sides if it's possible for both maintenance and viewing purposes.

Yeah, I'm getting a good deal on the supplements. I work for Brightwell now and need to know exactly how the products perform for my job so I'm going to be using everything we make that's appropriate for each system. No, I'm not on the sales team and no, I don't intend for, or want, this thread to be an ongoing discussion of what form of supplementation is better or worse. Every person has his or her own opinions on the subject and makes their own decisions based on their personal needs or desires for their system.

This thread is about my personal, home hobby, tank and I hope we can keep discussion of it limited to those lines.
 

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I'm sure this is going to turn out amazing. I'm following and am particular interested in the sump part. I'll have a bigger tank when I move too and this will probably feature a sump as well so want to know all do's and don'ts. Keep them coming!
 

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When most people say they have an fish room, they mean that they have a room with several aquaria in it. Phil's "fish room" is aquaria as big as a room.

High tech huge Dutch, I can't wait!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yo-han,

I'll be documenting every stage of the build and tank's progress including why I made each decision. I hope it'll help people like yourself when it comes time for them to start their own large system. Questions are welcome! I'll do my best to answer everything.


Michael,

ROFLMAO! They might not be quite as big as a room, but they are bigger than my bathtub. :) I'm hoping to make some dedicated space in the basement for aquariums, quarantine systems, and emersed tanks. I guess that's kind of like a fish room. I'm already considering the requirements for finishing the basement and making that space into a comfortable room to view many aquaria. There are too many possibilities..argh! Stay on target, stay on target! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Captain's Log- 7.25.13: The ship has been cleaned and careened. She is now being prepared for bilge removal.

Cleaning was a lot faster and less labor intensive than I thought it would be. Scooping out hundreds of pounds of substrate took a while, but that was expected. Because the tank's been sitting dry for as long as it has the coralline was very soft and easy to remove. A gentle run-over with a paint scraper then more serious scraping with a piece of scrap acrylic took care of most of it. Wetting and scrubbing with a new dish sponge took care of the rest. Anything that's left over will dissolve in the water or be made quick work of with a glass cleaner. I'm on a well and need to be careful of not using too much water too quickly and burning out the pump so it'll be a few days before there's enough water in the tank to get a good siphoning done. So, without further ado, here are the pics.

First blood! Ceiling and tank rim: 1, Phil: 0.


Lovely old substrate. This is going into the reef eventually.


Cleaned tank.




Both tanks are getting moved back toward the wall. That little lip in the ceiling above the tank where the outlets are is right at head-height.



I may put one of the tanks along this wall, we'll see. Having them facing perpendicular to each other would make viewing easier from one chair. Space and access to outlets will dictate placement. If a tank doesn't go there that'll end up being where my qt/hospital and emersed tanks go.



Thanks for watching,
Phil
 

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Four questions:

1. What did you say to the ceiling and the tank rim to make them mad?

2. Do you have a secret to setup these monster tanks in a way that you don't have to slave to maintain them?

3. How would you avoid slavery maintenance if no one knows how to do such a lame, no-fun thing?

4. Can you put a goldfish and a shark in one of the tanks and will the shark eat the gold fish like in Nature?
(An actual question from a potential buyer of a big tank that a friend of mine was selling.)

And a suggestion:
Place one of the tanks on the floor. Add water. Add Garras. Cover private areas. Get in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Garras are cute little fish too! Nothing like a natural exfoliant.

1. I hit the ceiling with the back of my head. It pushed back.

2. I like the maintenance.

3. I like the maintenance

4. No sharks in this tank. Maybe in the other one though. :)
 

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Ouch!!! NOT a good place to get whacked, either by the ceiling or by the tank. A double-whammy.

Tank looks great, if it's any consolation. :D

I'm tempted to add the words "for now" at the end of your "I like maintenance" statement. Or adding "I used to" before that statement......time will tell, Mr. Phil. It would be a dream to have those two tanks and your type of access to equipment and supplies, but that could be an awful lot of work, too. I mean....that WILL be an awful lot of work!

Niko is right: use one of the tanks for garra-based body cleans while you are sitting there admiring your work for the remaining system. LOL!!!!

moving along.......

Wouldn't you be concerned about getting some annoying glare on the glass if the tanks were perpendicular? For tank photos, I know that you would simply switch everything off until you were done shooting, but for day-to-day viewing, you might want to have them side by side, with a good 3-4' of space in between the two.

It's difficult to see how any placement could go wrong, though, if the tanks are good enough. ;) I think that you have plenty of freedom.
 

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...
2. I like the maintenance.

3. I like the maintenance
...
Oh no! He likes EI!

Let me know if you need a big spoon for the dry ferts you will be using. I got one for you:


Also consider a setup involving a bed close to the tanks. The maintenance you love so much may make you spend quite a long time in that little room:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
LOL Niko, I'm not going to be dosing dry ferts, I'm using all Brightwell Aquatics goods since I need to know how they perform and I get them for free. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Don,

Glare is something I'm considering too. I'm leaning more toward side-by-side placement for that reason. I don't think spacing will be too much of an issue, but we'll see.

As far as maintenance goes, as long as I don't get overly ambitious with the aquascaping and keep the final species count at a reasonable level maintenance shouldn't be a big issue. Water changes will be easy. I'll make a PVC U tube that'll drain down to half then use it to fill right back up. Trimming's really going to be the big issue. For everyday purposes I'm just going to hack them back and let them regrow. Topping and replanting most will only happen when it gets time to start taking competition photos. I need to get over to aquaplantexchange and start learning from the Masters themselves. Some of those tanks are ginormous and I'm pretty sure they don't keep them at competition level year 'round.
 

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LOL Niko, I'm not going to be dosing dry ferts, I'm using all Brightwell Aquatics goods since I need to know how they perform and I get them for free. ;)
Then I hope you understand where you stand today. You can influence the entire hobby.

Big tanks get a lot of attention. Only one of them (Amano's big tank) has a so-so documented setup and maintenance. The information is limited to showing a few people inside the tank in different amusing poses while arranging the wood and rocks and a pretty hard to find schematic of the huge sump under the tank. And then there is the "amazing" video of Amano feeding his big angelfish in that tank. Funny, allright. With your two 300 gallon tanks you are in a great position to influence this hobby in a positive way. What you need is three things:

1. Regular updates with actual useful information.
2. Aquascapes that catch the attention of everybody.
3. Make it look easy.

That's the formula for making a lasting impact. ADA has proven the (2) and (3) over the years and successfully gotten away with giving maintenance steps instead of explaining how things work. Since you seem to work for an aquarium supply company you are in a great position to borrow the knowledge that is out there, tweak it, show proof, and present it in such a way that everybody wins - both company and enthusiasts. I am so glad that you are looking at Dutch tanks/techiques. Hopefully that will bring some fresh air to this hobby.

First real questions:
What kind of filtration will you be using? Biomedia? Mechanical media? Flow rates? Flow pattern?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Niko,

I'll probably be starting out using a big ol' Eheim just to get the tank going before it gets too cold to ship plants. If I can get the overflow designed, built, and installed along with the sump in a timely manner then I'll go with that right from the start. The plan is to have a single large(ish) return from the sump ala Amano's big tanks. The pump will probably be rated for 1200gph or thereabouts. I got to spend some quality time with the systems at Sumida Aquarium and got a good feel for flow in the one with the big roots especially. I want to have laminar flow going across the top of the tank like in the famous big ADA tanks. Supplemental current will be provided by some sort of water mover like an MP40 or 60. Of course, that's contingent on how it affects plants. I don't want a dutch tank full of nice tall groupings bent half over in a current. If I need to have back to front flow I'll go with that. That's where researching what the actual Dutch people do comes in.

The eventual sump will have both mechanical and biomedia. The plan is to have a large pumice chamber for bio and poret sponges for mechanical and bio.

I'll definitely be giving detailed info and progress on this system. I can't give out proprietary info, of course, but there are some things I'm really curious about and want to get a quality set of hard data to play with. I promise I'll share as much as I can, good or bad.
 

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Not familiar with Brightwell products. Will be interesting to watch. Congratulations on what seems like a perfect job for you and for finding stability. That is all too rare these days.

Best of luck with all, the job, the home, the tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks AquaBarren, I appreciate it.

Quick and small update. I found a nice low-profile overflow that will work nicely for my needs once it's covered with growing plants. Here we are with the overflow installed and a big Korallia on the right pane. It's getting closer! Chances are really good that I'll have to go with the original plan of using canisters to start with and wait for a decent sump. That's no big deal. As long as the overflow's installed properly (and capped with quality ball valves) the tank can run indefinitely with the canisters so the real plumbing won't have to be a rush job.

The tank with overflow, Korallia 4, and lights. They're all 24" 4 bulb fixtures. Need to get hanging kits and plant appropriate bulbs for them.

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I got a good look at our substrates yesterday. I've got to say I'm really excited about them. I'll take pics of the different sizes and colors today. I still don't know when I'll actually get the tank moved and filled, but it's a step in the right direction. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It's not quite the update I was hoping to give, but here's a little something. After reading up on the various styles of overflow and downdrafts I've chosen to go with a modified beananimal system. It seems the best option for the hardware I've got and hope to have. Because the flow through the tank's not going to be as heavy as a reef I'm fairly confident that a single 1.5" siphon draft (downturned elbow) will be able to handle all the flow the eventual pump will put out. The upturned elbow will be left open for flood control in case of blockage and to allow me to tune the siphon so that it's silent. Due to the type of overflow I've got and the placement of the holes there's going to be some noise, but it'll be fairly quiet. I don't mind a soothing trickle or gurgle.

 
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