Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: harrodsburg, ky
260g Planted new setup
I am starting this Journal now because I would like a record from the beginning. I do not have pictures as of yet, as I am not at home to load them. However I will get them up when I can. I have had the pleasure of keeping aquariums for 20+ years ( which have included fresh and saltwater, but this is the first planted tank.) I have had tanks with plants in them, however, I do not consider that to be the same as having a fully planted system. So with all that said here we go.
I got the tank off of ebay, it is brand new and never had water in it. It was a saltwater project that never happened for the seller. Got a VERY good deal. tank came with lids and a very poorly built stand as well as alot of goodies for a salt tank. The tank is a 265 gallon glass tank with a over-flow built into one end. There are 2 1" inch holes and two 3/4" inch holes drilled in the bottom of the tank inside overflow. I have plans for the overflow, however, I don't intend to use it as normally intended. more on that later.
I have built a new stand, or should I say that I modified a high end office desk to fit my needs. The desk is 8 ft long and approx. 32" wide. It is constructed out of 3/4" plywood, and in effect it has three sections. Each section has two doors. The two center vertical walls inside desk are 1 1/2 inches thick and the two outer vertical walls are 3/4. Top and bottom are made of 3/4" wood as well.
Desk modifications are as follows:
First I flipped desk over and built a double 2X4 frame around bottom of desk for it to sit on. Inside that frame, I put two U channel steel beams (got them from my job) the beams are 1 1/2 " tall by 1 1/2" wide and run from end to end one in the front and one in the back.. They are pre-drilled and come with locking nuts that slide into the U channel. Four bolts per section (two in front and two in back) go thru the bottom of each section and are screwed into the beams. On each vertical wall another U channel runs front to back at both the bottom and top in each section. These are connected to each other by a 3/4" threaded rod front and back, which is secured into a locking nut and accompanying 1/4" thick washers. All of these vertical supports are bolted to the U channels under the desk as well. All the metal channel is powder coated and the rods are galvanized and will be painted as well. SO when you look into each section, there is a brace on the left and right side of each section.
There are 3/4" thick bolts running thru the two center plywood vertical supports to ensure these two walls cannot shift as they are actually made up of two 3/4" pieces of plywood sitting side by side. All of this is hidden behind false walls covering both sides and the bottom of each section. Takes away from overall usable space in each section, but it is still plenty spacious.
When I got the desk there was no back, so i cut a 1/2" piece of marine plywood to fit from top to bottom and end to end. this is screwed into the desk all the way around the perimeter of the desk to prevent left to right shift. The top of the desk was made out of 3/4" particle board, all of this was removed. I replaced it with 3/4" marine plywood. Because the original wood was actually twice as thick as the new piece, my tank will sit 3/4" below the beveled edge of the desk. The end effect is on the outside it looks like a desk. and when you open the doors you cannot see the modifications.
This poses the first problem I must figure a way to solve. The desk is a foot longer than the tank and a little wider. this leaves a gap around the tank. My current idea is to just fill in the gaps with wood, and finish the top somehow. Not sure how as the edges of the desk are rounded and anything I do will have to be blended into this. I am leaning toward fiberglass. (I have 18 years of fiberglass experience so this is not a big deal) epoxy it and finish it however I want. Because the tank will be recessed into the top, the bottom edge of the tank will be hidden which is a bonus.
A section of the top piece will be cut out to facilitate plumbing to the overflow, the section this opens into will house the filter system.
For filtering, i want to have the plants be the main filtering medium, however I will have a powered system as well just not as large as what would be needed normally. I have two whole house filter canisters that I can use to hold whatever media i chose to put in them. They are the clear bodied ones so i can see the media, I am thinking I will use micron filters in them. But anything can be loaded to fit a particular circumstance. I will pipe them so that one or the other can be taken out of the loop for servicing. I am thinking a rena xp series canister filter just not sure of size yet. I have several large sponge filters i can use as intakes. I am contemplating building a under-gravel return system.
I know there are two schools of thought on the under-gravel filtering. And while both sides have compelling arguments, I have always used them and have never had any issues what so ever. I think this is because I build my own, i really don't know for sure tho. I only know it works for me even with my rooting plants I have had in previous tanks. So I am going to go with what I know. I think I will run the UG in reverse. Pull through the sponges, down through the media, then the canister filter and back to tank by way of the UG. This will give me a generally upward flow in the tank. I am attempting to have minimal disturbance of the surface and this would work. However, If i chose to use soil and a CAP material this probably would have to be re thought.
My idea for the overflow is to use two of the holes to feed the filter media. However, not in the normal capacity. I am going to hard pipe two feeds from the bottom up over the backside of the overflow box and run these to the sponge intakes. the returns will come back to the tank on the same back side effectively hiding everything from view. The returns will feed into the UG system.
I intend to get a reverse osmosis system and set up a continuous drip system. If I use the overflow box as a way to drain off the excess water it can run into it, and out the bottom thru another of the holes and be either fed to a QT tank and then fed out side, or just straight outside. The last hole i will save for future use. The problem i think will be keeping the feed line from the overflow from developing harmful bacteria. As there will not be much flow as it is afterall a drip system.
More to come
Sometimes it is easy to forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.