50G with 30G sump - month 10 update - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update.

Cut the drip tray to size, then realized that due to the top trim piece being in the way, it would never fit, so had to cut it in half.

Chop chop.

Then I marked (poorly) the intersection points for the holes, chucked my smallest drill bit into the drill press, clamped the two pieces together and drilled away.

I need more 'small and tiny' clamps...

Semi-final result:

As you can see, I left the wrapping on prior to testing. Why? Because I knew they still needed work, of course! And ya, a lot. The holes need cleaning out for sure - no water got through them. Somewhat surprisingly, the gaps at the edges I assumed would need filling leaked very little water - possibly due to some wacky pressure/hydraulic issues.

I tested by dumping a pail of water on top of the drip tray. Some got in the sump baffle space, raising the sump baffle water past the level of water in the sump drain area.

This caused a lot of air to want to escape the drain area (scrubbie area), only it couldn't because of all the water sitting in the drip tray area!

A lot of very rude noises resulted, along with the drip trays being tossed about like a ship in stormy seas.

...Next up...I re-drill out the holes and test again. Will try and get a picture of the 'burping'.
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post #32 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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The glass measurements are fine, as per this thread: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh....php?p=1982027

Thanks for the input, planBtypeA and Diana.
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post #33 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
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It arrived! After the import/brokerage fees ($58), it'll be the last time I order anything via UPS from the US, and I mis-ordered the caps (I had initially looked at the NPT, but ended up adding slip to the cart ), but that's not a big deal, and I will look harder for a Canadian source next time. It's nice to have it all in one shot, anyway.

After the screening process (which left me with much shallower fingerprints), I watered down the MTS and - no smell! At all...only the smell of the water. I am calling it done like dinner, and will add the clay when I have a moment. For reference, two bags of soil gave me 2/3 of that storage container.

The screen material is the 'pet-safe' type - I would guess that using metal screening would destroy your hands.

The method for screening was:
  • Clamp screening to tub
  • Shovelful of soil
  • Spread/shake around with hands, pressing into the screen slightly
  • Be sure to break up clumps by rubbing them between hands
  • When obvious that remainder is not going through, remove from screen
  • Repeat process

The nylon screen material:


This was left out of two bags of soil:

Kinda like wet concrete (ok, really wet concrete):

A little plantedtank love...

The initial drip flow size:

Pumps seem to hold 3-4" of water above the tray.

The burping I mentioned lifting the panels:

Can you spot the design flaw?

Water level below drip tray:

So, still some work. I am thinking I'll need to remove the drip tray rests and move them. Guessing you can see the issue. Drip tray is at the same height as the baffle overflow, meaning there is no room for 'dripping'. Pretty sure I'll be removing the tray rests, cleaning up the mess, and then re-installing them 1.5" above the baffle height. Won't give me a huge amount of space above for water, but I'll also enlarge the drip holes a bit to give more flow.
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post #34 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jbreyy View Post
CO2 does encourage growth, and without it some plants just won't grow at all!! They will die and melt away. You'd have to pick all really easy plants, and expect them to grow really slow without CO2
I have to disagree, I wouldn't discourage him from going low tech. I myself grow R macrandra without co2, and ludwigia cuba s repens and s porto vehlo along with other demanding plants. all under water. all without ferts, lots of reds. not too much algae to where it cannot be managed
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post #35 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:50 PM
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i'd say the flaw is you have the drip plate on the same level as the high point of your baffle, if you can remove your baffel and use a shorter piece of glass to lower the level of water. I love sumps, personally i would have went with filter socks over a drip pan and toss a buck of lava rock in the sump and i mean all over even around the pump, you can put the rock in filter bags if you want but you should be fine just letting it hang loose
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post #36 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Just pics for now, text in the morning. Long day...

Update: Ok, text added.

Note how I have marked the holes (dry-erase marker) on the cutting face AND the inside. This was definitely handy.

What did I learn here? Use the plumber's putty for just one hole at a time. Why? Protip: if your reservoir is around three hole points, and you turn one of them into an actual hole...it will drain. No kidding.

Next time I would:
  • Make dams around all three to begin with, would limit the mess (and there was a big mess of water/glass dust).
  • Put the tape on BEFORE I start drilling - for all the holes.
  • Tape some sort of cup/container underneath the hole to limit the splashing/mess.
  • Use blue tape to mark out the holes on the drilling surface - the dry-erase marker wiped off like a dry-erase marker.

Levelling the work surface for an even cut:
It wasn't perfect, but ended up being good enough.

Drill press set for ~900RPM
The belt ended up slipping off mid-way through the first cut - pulleys were too out of line - so I settled for the next pulley up on the drill side.

You can calculate this by taking the motor pulley diameter divided by the spindle pulley diameter, times the motor speed.

1725RPM * (2/4) = ~860RPM (early morning maths...)

I think the second option got me somewhere around 1100RPM, still within spec for drilling glass.

Drilling as easy as 1-2-3!
Ok, this is a lie. Hole#1 took about 1 hour, mainly because I was terrified of breaking the glass. Hole#2 took about 45 minutes, because after 30 mins of little progress I got impatient. Hole#3 took about 45 minutes because that's about as fast as I would cut. The two smaller holes each took about 30-40 minutes.

Very little chip-out on the 1" holes, and moderate chip-out on the 1.25" holes (one had a 0.25" shallow chip), despite the tape. Pretty sure a quality bit would make a difference here. The lesson is: $10 worth of drill bits will do the job, but will take FOREVER and not give you a perfect hole.

I learned how to properly read my drill press depth measurement during this process - it is marked with 1/64 graduations, not 1/16.

If they look out of line, it's just an optical illusion. You can trust me on that.

Drill bit after a few holes:

Final product:
Well, I'd have to say this was a success. The tank is in one piece, cuts are acceptable (covered by bulkheads), and even though the alignment wasn't perfect, things are in spec.

If anyone is attempting to do this with a hand drill...wow...have fun. Maybe smaller holes would not be so bad, or better bits would make a big difference.

Anyway, we can get back to the sump fixin' now. More to come. (oh, and I need to order another 1" bulkhead...oops)

Last edited by crazymittens; 08-20-2012 at 11:39 AM. Reason: text added
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post #37 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Whups, bump for text update.
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post #38 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quick update...
I took a look at the Sumpery, annnd promptly moved on to the shiny.

Some test fitting of the PVC bits, also cut some of the connector pieces required for the drains.

New items on my list:
  • We'll need to drill the overflow box for sure to accommodate the returns - they won't fit as I originally intended. (7/8" bit ordered)
  • The caps are threaded, not slip, so I will be trying to make a 'gasket' of silicone - making lemonade out of lemons, as it were.
  • I am indeed out of PVC cement/solvent.

What I learned:
  • There is just no way to get the piping fully into the fittings. No way, man.
  • This project is expensive, but we're close now.
  • I appear to be having an allergic reaction to PVC shavings. Indeed.

Bulkheads installed:
A good feeling, this is.

It starts to take shape!! Thankfully the holes I drilled are close enough that shifting the bulkheads around gives me pretty darn close alignment.

So fresh and so clean...
I spent 20 minutes cleaning my saw blades with vinegar and a brass brush prior to using. The chop saw blade was so caked in pine sap it could barely cut anything at all - now look at 'er!

Bits and pieces:
Like Lego for aquarists. Or something.

"Threaded" cap:
I say that with hesitation because I did not have an appropriately-sized tap. I drilled the cap out with a Forstner bit on the drill press (using my drill press vise for the first time whee), then gave it a light thread. Since it was close, I "encouraged" the fitting to move into its new home. Fits like a glove! (if you are curious, this is indeed a John Guest fitting, and same for the red line...the online store I ordered from just happened to have it, so why not...)

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post #39 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hole saws shipped today, I'm thinking 7/8" with silicone around it, so if the PVC expands for any reason, there is some play and should not crack the glass. Also need to pick up some female threaded 3/4" fittings for the Loc-Line adapter when I get the PVC cement.

Hm, I should have asked about coarse filters when at Big Al's yesterday.

Shrimpnewbie, thanks for the input. It'll be easier to raise the drip tray than replace the baffle, so that's what we'll do.

I will also be gluing a vertical support onto the bottom of the rests - they stick out too far for the silicone to hold them. Simple enough fix.

This week's to-do list:
  • Finish thumbscrews
  • Adjust drip tray rests & add vertical supports
  • Cut remainder of PVC for BeanAnimal
  • Figure out some method of supporting the drain/return pipes
  • Get jig ready for overflow box installation next week
  • Mask off overflow box silicone areas

I may just re-cut the drip tray rests while I'm at it - the middle piece needs extending anyways.
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post #40 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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I'm now uncertain about using silicone instead of an actual bulkhead...hm.

Below are some great build threads I'm using as inspiration.

Example of the 'through' return plumbing I'll be doing:

Another BeanAnimal setup, painted piping:
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post #41 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quick update...had a few minutes after picking up the (hopefully) last batch of goodies from the Depot.


Yup, got the heights within 1/16-1/8" or so, pretty happy about that.

Fitted onto the bulkheads (dry test)
I realized that there is no turning back once the pipes are glued onto the bulkheads - only way the bulkheads are coming out after that is with lots of cutting!

Not sure how I feel about that.

The valves can both be wide open at the same time...about 1/4" to spare...and having all the unions in line is symmetrically satisfying.

I'm thinking for the slip caps fitting on threaded adapters...a bead of silicone inside the top of the cap should allow it to snug down without ripping the silicone off. Can't hurt to try.

One last note - the weight of the plumbing isn't as stressing as I'd thought it might be - with a support piece below the unions it'll hold up just fine.

Tomorrow, if time allows, I'll start on the return plumbing - the drill bit for the overflow box returns should arrive mid-next week, so next weekend will be the drilling and assembly of the overflow.

This week/week-end:
  • Finish sump!!!!
  • Mock up tank/sump for routing of drains
  • Return plumbing
  • Make overflow box jig
  • Mask/prep tank surface for overflow box install

Oh....and install new fuel filter in the Jetta.
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post #42 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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New tray rests, this time with symmetry. Used the belt and disc sanders with clamps to get this result - much better.

The four outside rests.
Threaded them all together, then sanded.

The two inside rests.
Made new ones, this time 3" wide.

All of them glued and taped.
I gave all the rests vertical supports. Used the blue tape prior to gluing to ensure they stayed where I wanted them post-glue. Glued with E6000.

Slight fix for the scrubbies.
Prevents them from floating on their own. I may still need to weigh them down a bit, but they are holding much better now. I used a lot of zip ties, but I've had that bag since high school...best $15 I ever spent!

I have to wait 48 hours for the E6000 to fully cure, then silicone the rests into place. 24 hours, and then test the new drip trays.

In the mean time I can:
  • Source coarse filter foam
  • Get platform ready for plumbing routing/testing in the garage
  • Work on the return plumbing
  • Prep the 50G for the overflow box install
  • Build the jig for the overflow box install
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post #43 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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Decided to get the return plumbing started. Went with two 45s, as I believe that's better than one 90...not sure by how much. The ball valves probably won't be used, but not a huge penalty to keep them in anyways. The check valves function as unions, so I tried to line them up with the other unions.

Note that the plumbing hanging off the back will be painted matte black.

Return plumbing dry fit:

New drip tray rests in place:

Protip: 'Measure twice, cut once' is analogous to everything.

I was definitely not thinking right in two ways. First, I should have measured centerpoints for all the drip tray rests from the get-go. Second, should not have measured things on the fly in a rush. At least I know that the silicone cleans up really nicely with a razor.
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post #44 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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We went to a bunch of garage sales today...and wasn't I surprised to see this:

Yup, mini metal lathe! For $40, I couldn't resist. It'll do just fine for small projects, and for helping me learn lathe basics.

Back to tank stuff...
I think the sump is pretty much done except for:
  • Prep the top for drain pipes/returns
  • Source the coarse filter
  • Return hard line plumbing

These are the tops from this tank's life as a 'normal' fish tank.

Secret weapon - rocks!
No float for you!

Drip trays on the new rests
I drilled the drip holes out one larger size today, the new rests are working out great. It's now running in a loop, will let it go for a few days, see how the drip holes work out.

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post #45 of 96 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 02:38 AM
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WOW, F#*k'n amazing! Kudos. Mad skills.
Love it,
big o
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