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Gilles' 125 gallon tank and 40 gallon sump

70735 Views 122 Replies 51 Participants Last post by  Tex Gal
Well this is my first big post on APC. I've been working with aquariums for about 2 years now, mainly using them as "i have nothing to do, lets trim the aquarium" kind of thing. In other words, i did not take a lot of time to "work" on my aquarium.

My (old) 50 gallon tank:
I have been fascinated with the aquarium even since i first got my first, and when i moved to my appartment i decided to go from a 40L to a 180L aquarium. To convert these values to Gallons, you have to divide them by 3.8. So first i had a ~10 gallon and then i purchased a ~50 gallon.

Not long after i had this 50 gallon tank, i switched from the internal filter to a tetratec EX700 filter, and decided to inject CO2 using an Aquamedic 1000 reactor. Here are some pics of my first aquarium.

My (old/current) 125 gallon tank:
Almost 8 months ago, i switched to a 125 gallon tank and a 40 gallon sump. This has been nothing but a disaster to be honest. The overflow of my tank was wrongly build, and it had no second overflow. A snail got stuck in the overflow to my sump and the pump kept on pumping, well you get the idea.. I had a wet floor 3 times untill i finally got around and knew how to fix it.

The tank has 4x36w T8 lighting, with electronic ballasts, the return is done by a pond pump, and i have a UV filter attached. My electronics where not kept seperate from my water flow, so when the tank flooded i got a short circuit.

The hood of the tank was made from thesame material as my other furniture, meaning 18mm thick plywood. Off course, this was WAY to heavy, but then again, you never know you have to look out for something untill you bump your head.

I am injecting CO2 in such a manner that i have my PH steady at 6.8 with a KH of 5, giving me approx. 30ppm CO2. My lights are dimmed by an aquarium computer, which means i have a beautifull sunset and sunrise.

First i added CO2 directly using an air stone in my sump, but that caused me to use approx. 10kg of CO2/month which is (off course) not good for the environment. Right now i am using a reactor (Dennerle Cyclo Turbo XL) which is driven by a seperate pump in my sump.

I will spare you the other problems i had, but again, here are some pictures of the current tank.

My (new/in progress) 125 gallon tank:
Besides the seperation of the electronics from the water (100% seperated = no more short circuit) i had the idea to incorporate my return lines in my DIY background (made from isolation material, tile glue and epoxy coating) and off course there is a second overflow. There is also going to be a bottom heater and the other (good) parts of my current tank will move to the new tank.

The POND pump will be replaced by a pump which can be found in about every boiler in the world (yes, a boiler pump). These pumps are used a lot in the Netherlands, they have 3 different speed settings ranging from 30,45,60 watts and pumping out 900-1700 gallons per hour. Off course this is going to be less, since i am using a lot of PVC with bends and so on, but you'll get the idea.

The CO2 injection will be done (once again) by a Aquamedic 1000 reactor, which will be incorporated in my return lines. I will have 4 points from where my water will be returned, 3 below water and 1 spraybar which will keep the oily surface away. Besides that, it will also "move" all dead leaves to the overflow.

My lights are going to be upgraded. Instead of 4x36w T8 i am going to use 4x36w T8 and 2x54w T5. The reason i did not switch entirely to T5 is the initial price you have to pay. All in all i am going to end up with approx. 2.1w/gallon, maybe i'll add another two 54 T5's, meaning i'd go to 3w/gallon. All in all, it is way better then my current WPG which is 1.2w/gallon.

The stand will be made from metal piping, and is allready constructed, grounded and painted with hammerite black. Pictures describing the building progress will come very fast, since i am allready half way with the construction.
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Well, i think i have explained everything on the pages before this, haven't i? Can you post specific questions?

And luc.. A new tank is underway :p
This aquarium will be built with plywood and epoxy. The dimensions will be 180cm width x 70cm depth x 60cm height. Total gallons: +/- 180 :p or.. 700 liters. I have all the stuff in house :) I allready started, but it will be a long process (i do it in my spare time which i don't have so much).
hello Gilles,

You did on the technical side, but not the linux / light-computer.
And don't forget your shrimp-farm update...heheee

But serious, the light-computer is what I'm most interested in.
Nice tank dimensions for the plywood. That will be interesting. Look forward to your posts on that.

Been too busy as well. Nothing much happened in the last couple of months. Waiting a couple more weeks and then hope to be able to pickup again.

Next holiday, make a trip to Thailand. I'll show you around the interesting 'tank-spots'
Great! Collect some interesting plants for me there! I am still searching for the Rotala Macrandra 'Pink'.
I'll do a search and get you some info on that.
Can't be too much trouble finding it.
As all have said before. You are truly a master of everything about the aquarium technology! Where did you get all of this knowledge?
The thought occurred to me that maybe the algae problems you are having are due to the spectrum of light you are using or the high amount that the plants can't keep up with? Or chemistry...

I was thinking in your sump if you are still having the problem of the waste coming back into your aquarium you ought to get some porous sponges in one of the chambers and just rinse them out every time you change the water. It would allow you to culture bacteria and capture waste at the same time.

All that aside, million dollar setup man, looking forward to seeing you win an award one of these days.
@Fevz; trial and error (err.. flooded home due to snail stuck in return pipe).

@NorthTexasFossilGuy: I no longer have any particles in my tank. I'll have to make some updates soon. Now it is a matter of fine tuning the setup (i have an ORP/Redox of 163mv which needs to be arround 300mv in order to have clean water).

I am preparing my tank for some new plants which i will receive from Bubbles aquarium next week.. Tomorrow another trim and new pics!
Bah! The algae is back with a vengeance. I really have no hope left to kill this algae. My water conditions are a lot better then before;
PH: 6.2
KH: 2.5
GH: 3
NO3: 10-15
PO4: 0.5

Anybody has an idea on what the best strategy is? My guess is to up the PO4 to about 1-1.5 but i am not sure... Here are some pics:

Rotala walichi:

Ludwigia Glandulosa:

Eustralis stellata:

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if you figure it out, please let me know! my main problems is diatoms. im going to try and use a phosphate remover to remove silicates and see if that helps
Hey there, i did a double dosing of EasyNeo (google it) and upped my phosphate from 0.5 to 1.0 to match a NO3 of 10. Few days later it is all gone ;)
Work in progress, still not happy with the results although my plants seem to look healthy ;)

A few hours later:

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A few days later, look at the limno gigantea ;)

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Did a waterchange yesterday to slowly get my KH to be 3 and also lowering my PH at thesame time to be 6.2 (giving me between ~29 and ~82 ppm co2 which should be good). Right now my KH is approx. 4.5 i think.

Only problem i am facing right now is that my blyxa japonica (you don't see it due to the bad lightning) isn't growing tall and my limno isn't growing wider; although i am giving 210ml/week of trace which should be 50mls/week according to the 'default' specs on the bottle.
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This is a really neat tank. can't help you with the algae problems; just wanted to compliment your hard/intricate work. :)
I just read through this whole journal.


Submit some photos and journalism to a popular science magazine!
Thankx all! Have to trim tonight. The plants are already reaching the surface....
Very impressive setup.
Hello Gilles, how are you doing in cold Netherlands?
Was reading a bit on your thread, trying to catch out details that I missed before.
Came accross your question for the Rotala Macrandra Pink and did a quick search. Have you ever tried this company:
Seem to have a good selection. I don't order anything online, and got more into growing plants, then exchanging sprouts with my local shops to get better / other plants.
Slowly getting to finish my 99G tank. Still many things to do, but as with you, very little time. Thailand is nice except for the 6 day working weeks I have here. Sigh.

Another one, your computer controlling the tank...heheee that one again. Any chance you want to share some on that? You're using linux, but what are you using it for? Only light? Or also measuring and dosing CO2 and ferts with it?

Would love to get something like that installed as well, still got time to sort that out. Hope you can give some directions on it.

Have a nice weekend and enjoy the holidays...

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Hello Gilles,

I finally got my epoxy done. It's hard as glass and not tacky or anything anymore.
Now, after filling up with water, it slowly turns white....sigh.
Emptying the tank, and the epoxy turns clear again.
Just wondering, what type of epoxy did you use?
Do you have specificatons on type and hardener used?

Epoxy I'm using is PC600 with 0.5% hardener and 0.03% Cobalt.
It has short drying time, takes about 15 minutes after adding the hardener to becoming gel and not able to use any more.

Hope you can enlighten me on the epoxy you used....

Thanks and late but still, best wishes for 2010...

Kind regards,
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Have you upped your ferts as your plant mass has increased? If growth slows that's usually the first place to start looking.
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