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Old 10-15-2013, 07:40 PM   #1
zackariah
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Sandfall


Here is a video of my sandfall.

Parts list:
3/4" pvc
Air stone
air line
mesh
11/2" black PVC
Fluval Q2 air pump
Lace rock
White sand
2" Styrofoam

There was allot of trial and error during my design of this fall. I tried several types of sand with differnt grain sizes. I found that the smaller size looked more natural. The larger grain looked like a snow globe! I ran my pvc just under the top of the water. I did this for two reasons. I wanted the fall to be taller and it would make it easier to hide the bubbles. I cut the black 1 1/2" in half long ways to hide the white PVC. I used the fluval Q2 for its high/adjustable flow silent operation. I put a rock in front of the 90 degree elbow at the top to direct the sand down and the bubbles up and to hide the PVC. The bottom of the PVC has a large notch cut out to allow sand/water to enter the tube. I glued the Styrofoam to the bottom of the tank and carved out a return for the sand. The mesh goes over the bottom of the PVC to stop snails fish plant leaves etc from getting trapped in the tube. Hope you enjoy.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:12 PM   #2
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That looks awesome! I'd like to see a video of the whole tank. It blends in very well.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:31 PM   #3
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Nicely done.
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:26 PM   #4
zackariah
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I dont have a full tank video. I have some pics though. Click image for larger version

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Old 10-15-2013, 11:54 PM   #5
thebuddha
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wow thats very cool!
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:26 PM   #6
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Nicely done.

Most of the others I've seen just have a simple vertical fall. I like how yours cascades over the rocks.

Looks really good.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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I can't watch the video since I'm at work... but I'll check it when I get home... I'm impressed just by looking at the pictures and I can't even see it in action... awesome!
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:56 PM   #8
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gosh, I don't think its feasible to do for my work tank that I'm setting up right now, but the more I think about this, its so cool I might have to try it with my 55 at home! I'd have to pull out a couple pieces of driftwood and replace them with stones to be able to make room... and scale back the eco-complete to make room for sand... but this is really cool! My wife would role her eyes at me until it was done, then she would probably even like it! =)

How long did it take you to test where the sand was going to fall / set up your catch basin there / do you have to occasionally refill the sand since it may not all go back to your catch basin, or is your catch basin set up somehow to draw sand from nearby?
Instead of Styrofoam I don't see why you couldn't just use a larger PVC pipe as your catch basin below... how
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:12 PM   #9
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Thank you everyone for the kind words. I feel it looks good for my first shot. It took a bit to find out exactly how the sand would fall. My design has 3 major rocks the base that also acts as part of the catch. Then the main rock the sand cascades down. Then a top rock to push the sand down and hide the 90. I played around with the angle of the rock for about a week. (by the way nothing else was in the tank) I would set the rocks up observe the way the sand was falling. I had to make adjustments too the angle to make it more steep, or less. I also had to adjust to make sure the sand fell down the path I wanted. The base would also get moved with every adjustment to make sure the main rock would sit correctly against the glass, also to make sure sand was returning to the PVC. This was the longest part of the process. I sadly scratched my glass during this phase so be careful. As far as adding sand, I had to make small adjustments once the tank was fully set up. I added small stones in key area where I noticed sand was spilling off. This worked very well. I also had to add small amounts of sand the first few days as it began to settle and fill cracks. It's now been a week since I last added any. Here are some pictures of the catch basin. Sorry that one is at an angle it wad the best way to show it. By the way PVC may work as well but you may have more trouble with the sand drifting away from your catch.
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:53 PM   #10
ValMM
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It looks so neat.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:43 PM   #11
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How reliable is it? Meaning, can you just keep it going for long periods of time without adding more sand or moving the sand back to the "pick up" area?

I have been very interested in this idea since the first time I saw it, probably 4-5 years ago. I have been thinking of building a small tank around this idea.

My hesitation has been the fact that I know it's a lot of trial and error, I don't want something I have to constantly mess with, and I haven't justified the space. Just kind of wondering how well it works long term.

Very inspiring, may have to get an air pump and pull out an old 10 gallon haha.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:46 PM   #12
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so your catch basin is just an open space under the rocks at a lower level that makes the sand slide back down to the PVC? I'm tempted to buy another tank just to experiment with this =)
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:52 AM   #13
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The sandfall is spectacular. Not mention the rest of the tank is beautiful. Do you have any trouble keeping the substrates from mixing?
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:59 AM   #14
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I have not had to add any sand for a few weeks. I have had some moss and fern pieces get caught in the intake. I am confident this will stop when they attach to their respective bases. The trial and error is unavoidable since every fall will be different.

Thats exactly how my catch basin works. To me it seemed like the best design. It takes more sand but so far it seems to work great. I designed my whole tank around this idea.

My substrate is mixing a bit and I have had to go in and fix it. My blixa melted when my c02 solenoid broke. I did not have co2 for about a week while waiting on my new rig got to me. Before that happened the blyxa was helping keep it separated. Its coming back strong now so im hoping I will have to deal with it less.

As my experience with ferts and c02 increases I plan to add cooler plants. In the near future I am planing to get some manzanita sticks and make little trees to attach to the rocks by the water fall to replace the java ferns.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:27 AM   #15
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another question - if you used PVC as your lift with an airstone, did you have to somehow vent the top of the PVC so the air could escape? does it just burp out of the 90 that the sand comes out of?

Sorry for all the questions, I haven't looked this up anyplace else so this is the first and only one that I've seen and I'm really considering buying another 10 gal tank just to play around with this, and if I get it to work in the 10 gal then maybe rescape my 55 gal to add a fall in it...
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