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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, I've maintained a journal on some other forums about this tank, but I wanted to share it will all APC members that might not frequent those other forums as well as get thoughts and suggestions from those in the here as well. This tank is also the subject of my blog in the link in my signature. I go into more detail/rambling on the blog, but these journals are more bare-bones.

Anyway, these first few posts will be able catching up to this my current point.

For now, a little teaser shot:

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The tank is a 120g Marineland, 48"x24"x24", with a 700 gph corner overflow. I will most likely be removing the overflow and simply using the exisiting holes as the intake and output for my filtration system. There will be one input from the overflow hole. Output will be by a substrate level spray bar similar to BryceM's and a loc-line coming in over the back.

The stand is maple, custom built. I've built plenty of stands before, some that even passed as decent(see the first post here), but for this I wanted professional furniture grade. After getting the thing home, it's apparent that I could have easily done the stand because most of the trim is prefab from a woodworking store like Rockler, but the canopy was the real gem du jour. The canopy is very solid, and incorporates a nice design to minimize light from shining through the seams. That was important to me and I couldn't have duplicated it unless I blatantly ripped off the cabinet maker.

The filtration will be a closed loop system similar to Scolley's, but incorporating two canister filters(and either a Mag 350 for micron filtration or Danner 7 for additional flow) instead of his seperate pump/filtration modules. I will also be incorporating an auto water change similar to Sergio's.

Lighting will be a 6x54w Tek T5HO with 3 Giessman Middays and 3 Aquafloras. CO2 pressurized with a pH controller.

Finally, the whole thing will be controlled by a Wasser-controller.

In consideration for expansion, I'll be building my piping with additional connections for a furture perstaltic pump auto-dosing setup similar to Bill's.

I'm hoping to have the tank cycled by the Spring Auction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I cut out the overflow.

Before:



After:



I left the bottom silicone in place since it'll be covered by substrate and this way if I ever decide to put it back on, I've got an outline(as if it wouldn't already be easy enough).

And I painted the back of the tank black.

Before:



Midway (placing styrofoam under the tank):



After:

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One more thing checked off, my Tek fixture now has two cords instead of one:







I've love to say that the brown cord was so I could tell the difference, really it was just that the brown cord was the cheaper option...and on a setup of this magnitude every dollar counts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I got all the parts in for my controller and I got it all soldered together:



I have four independently controller sockets in the Technical-Pro power supply, with 2 spares for non controlled power. I have 2 24 VAC controlled ports on the controller for my water change solenoids when I pipe everything together.

I'll be operating co2/light bank 1 together and UV/light bank 2 together to start off with so I'll have s splitter downstream of the socket. I've wired the power supply so that the relays are in parrellel to the switches, and therefore the switches on the PS can manually turn on a circuit. Depending on my uses later, I may rewire this so that the switches manually override the relays and shut down the circuits.

Materials include:

* DIG 5006 Drip Irrigation Controller ordered from Sprinkler Warehouse for $65.
* 4 120 VAC, 3 Amp relays, part number Tyco KHAU-1711-24 ordered from ebay,
$4/each
* Technical Pro PS-S8 rack mount power supply ordered form ebay, $20/shipped
* 2 Rainbird irrigation solenoids, 1" NPT, from Sprinkler Warehouse, $11
* 1 "miniature" float switch from Fish Bowl Innovations, $12 plus shipping
* Some granulated activated carbon inline cannisters for the refill line
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, here we go.

Here's my first pass at a plumbing design.....ok, not my first pass, but my first "final draft". Image below. My sketchup-fu is weak, so old school it is.



To fill in some holes:

1. T M means Top Macros, B m means Bottom Micros, T R is Top Refill, B CO2 is, well, you get the idea
2. Spray bar is substrate level, and points up and slightly towards back glass

Now, to head off what I think will be a few questions/immediate thoughts:

1. Tank is corner drilled. Intake/output must enter the tank in that corner
2. Almost every ball valve is actually a ball valve/true union connection, except the pH probe
3. Eheims don't have ball valves because they have their own disconnects
4. Mag Drive 7, 700gph, is there for added circulation/co2 diffusion. Probably overkill at 700 gph, but I already
have it, so no added expense. *Might* downgrade it to a Danner 5 @ 500 gph if necessary. Additionally, it runs
the tank drain. Because of the design of my house, I need to pump the water up 7'. @ 7' of head, Danner 7 still
gets 350 gph.
5. The 700 gph is almost definitely an issue for the UV. I'm going to measure acutal flow, and if it is indeed an
issue(as I beileve it will be) that will force the downgrade to the Danner 5

I really welcome all thoughts/suggestions because I'll be building soon, hopefully Thursday afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I finally did some real actual work on this thing. We've got a club auction coming up on March 7th, so I'm trying desperately to have it cycled by then.

When I was growing up, I was the youngest of 3 boys, and we ALL played with Legos. By the time I came along, we had multiple big popcorn tins filled with Legos. Basically, any part you could even want for anything you could ever want to build.

I tried to apply that approach to this. :p



Blank slate:





Finished product:



Left Side:



Center:



Right Side:



Obviously I could have built the thing with a few less 90 elbows, but I was building for form and function. I was trying to maximize my left over space in the stand.

And, for the record, I still had to make 1 more trip to Home Depot, and 2 more trips to Ace for more parts. :p

I let it all dry overnight, so water test will be today. Cross your fingers.

The attached image is the plumbing I ended up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And to bring it up to the current status:

I water tested it yesterday, and, well, let's just say I'm glad I put in so many ball valves and true unions. :p

I exaggerate a little. I have a pretty bad leak(well, I guess any leak is a bad leak) coming out of the MD7, so I had to close off that side of the filtration loop.

I filled the tank using the eheim side of the loop and all's well. I'm filling it up 15g at a time and letting sit and adjust to all the weight. By tommorow all I have it all filled, then drain it and add substrate.
 

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So I take it that this will not be an El Natural tank? Hah!!! Just kidding. I've got a tank that's set up NPT and love it, but I have to admit that there are some serious limitations when it comes to certain stems et cetera. Fortunatey my favorite aquatic plants work fine in an NPT, so my goals are met.

I'm pretty impressed with the system you diagrammed; that's a lot of work, and I look forward to seeing the progress once it's filled and planted. Do you already have the scape laid out with the flora and fauna in mind, or are you still debating?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So I take it that this will not be an El Natural tank? Hah!!! Just kidding. I've got a tank that's set up NPT and love it, but I have to admit that there are some serious limitations when it comes to certain stems et cetera. Fortunatey my favorite aquatic plants work fine in an NPT, so my goals are met.

I'm pretty impressed with the system you diagrammed; that's a lot of work, and I look forward to seeing the progress once it's filled and planted. Do you already have the scape laid out with the flora and fauna in mind, or are you still debating?
Well, I haven't exactly thought all the way through. I was in Thailand last May, and I think I might pull some inspiration from the rainforest there. I'm thinking maybe some large pieces of wood like tree stumps, surrounded by ton of ferns, anubias, and crypts. Throw in some moss and a hairgrass foreground and call it done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's some shots of my in tank plumbing. Since I didn't have the light on the tank yet, the shots aren't great. Hopefully you can get an idea of what the in tank stuff looks like:





And then I put in substrate. Substrate is 3 9L bags of AS Amanzonia II, then with about as much used Eco-Complete on top. It'll all mix eventually, and I'm fine with that. I like the look of the two mixed and I think they'll be a great substrate. As the AS breaks down, it'll give the entire substrate an smaller average grain size. I think that will ultimately be beneficial.





 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another update. I had a minor setback. I redid my plumbing around the the MD7 and came out with some pluses and minuses.

Instead of hard plumbing the MD7 in, I used about 2" of flexible tubing to connect it to some nipples. This will reduce flow slightly, but it SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the noise this thing puts out. It also fixed the leaking.

Also, originally I had it screwed to the stand. That was really noisy too, so now it's kind of suspended in air/supported by rubber, also reducing the noise.

Then I water tested. No problem, holds water.

But, I discovered that I overlooked something very important: My irrigation solenoids require 15 psig of differential pressure to open properly.......and I don't and won't have that. Point is, they don't work, so I have to scrap them. I've purcahsed a 1/2" ASCO Red Hat valve that should be here early next week. It'll control my draining from now on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Now I get some action.

I went to the Stone Center of Georgia, picked up about 100 lbs of river rock for $20(can't beat that) and brought it home:



Couple of hits with the sledge hammer and I get some good stuff to work with:



Before I block it from view, here is a shot of the completed spray bar and intakes, covered by substrate. I've got some black intake sponges coming that will cover the unpainted portion of the intakes.



And now, it begins. Here is where I ended up after scaping. I welcome all suggestions.







I feel like the driftwood positioning needs tweaking.

Let me know what you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I like it how it is. Can't wait to see it with more plants and some fish. :)
Thanks Phil! Somebody on the AAAA forum pointed out exactly what was bothering me about the DW. It pulls the eye too far away from center, almost to the outside of the tank, cutting off the entire right side of the tank. It's really incredible how the slightest thing can do that. Anyway, the DW is actually two large pieces with a few smaller pieces mixed in. I've angled the center piece up about 2" more and I think it did the trick. I'm going to sit on it for a few days and see how I like it.

Another suggestion was to slide the whole thing over to the right side, so that the largest piece of DW would point towards center. Honestly, that is probably the best option, but for whatever reason I'm preferential to left focused islands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The tank is finally in a semi finished position. I've got all the electronics hooked up and the programs setup on the controller. Lights are installed, canopy is in good shape, co2 is pumping....and I even got some plants in there.

This is my no means "scaped." I just put it some plants I had around and a few from a small order that came in on Friday. I plan on picking up a fair amount of plants at our club auction on March 7, and then the real scaping will happen.















Here you can see the TEK fixture mounted in the canopy. For now I'm only running 2x54w of light.



I still have to figure out how/where to mount my power supply, but for now it's resting comfortably[sic] on top of the cannister filters. The wires look all spaghettied, but they are actually, mostly, all organized. Everyone has a drip loop. As soon as I mount the PS, it'll look a lot cleaner.



Here is the mini float valve. I like to think of it as my personal flux capacitor... you know, the thing that makes time travel possible. It's lets me feel safe when I'm away(not to mention the controller cutting off power to it after an hour).



I have a 15 rpm peristaltic pump in the house, and I'm expecting another 30 rpm one to come in today. After that I need 2 gallon bottles and then I'll be plumbing in my automatic dosing setup. I was originally going to wait for a while to do this, but we're taking a big 3 week trip here in about 2 months. We'll have a house sitter, but I didn't want to make the responsible for the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, I've been more than remiss in my updates. Life got a little busy for a while and I was focusing on other things.

The big items that I haven't updated on are:

*At the suggestion of a lot of people(see previous posts in this thread) I shifted the entire hardscape to the left. I like it a lot better.
*I added a ton more plants, include two Aponogetons, many crypts, and some bolbitis. I also planted a bunch of dward[sic] hairgrass. It was sold to me as E. parvula, but was E. aicicularis.
*I added about 30 olive nerites
*Finally, and this is the big one, I bought 12(received 13) Angels off of Aquabid. They are 50% Wild Peruvian Scalare, 50% blue gene. I'll probably only keep 6 of them depending on how they pair up and how they develop, but I'm going to hold on to all of them for a few more months before I start to thin them out.

Those are the big things. I haven't really focused too much on a scape. It's very jungle-esque, partly to give time for the crypts to grow and spread and partly out of laziness.

I then had to prepare for a 3 week vacation to Europe, so I had to make sure automation was fully up and running. Waterchanges, autodosing, co2....got it all setup, well, kind of. 2 days before we were to leave I had some issues with my macro pump, so the tank went with micros only for the trip.

After the trip, this is what it looked like:



Sorry for the bad picture, it was a quick snap before going to town with scissors. As I mentioned before, that was 3 weeks with no macros, only micros. As it turned out, I didn't know how to use my recently acquired Pinpoint pH controller as well as I assumed, so I set it up wrong and the tank went without CO2 during the trip. Not a big issue, for three reasons: the tank is relatively low light, duckweed QUICKLY took over, and I mix my micro solution with glutaraldehyde, so the tank didn't have too many problems.

After a large LARGE trim(and duckweed removal), this is what it looked like:







I'm having a pretty large detritus issue, but I think two things are going on. One, the filters need to be cleaned. I haven't cleaned them since I turned this thing on. Two, with no macros for 3 weeks, some of the plants struggled and lost some leaves.

I removed all of the dwarf[sic] hairgrass. It just wasn't doing it for me. Too tall and just not the look I was going for. I haven't decided on a new foreground yet but I'm thinking about some form of lilaeopsis, probably brasiliensis.

So far I've only been on 2x54w of light for a breakin period, but I'm thinking about upping that to 4x54w of light, at least for a couple of hours a day. I'll probably definitely need to do this if I go with lilaeopsis to get a good carpet going.

That's about it for the update. For good measure, a couple of rough Angel shots:



 
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