WP's 55gal to 270gal plywood tank conversion - Page 11
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:04 PM   #151
MikeS
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WOW!!!!!!! That is just awesome.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:58 PM   #152
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I love it. You do a better job "aquascaping" by not trying than I do by thinking about it a bunch
To the point that I am too embarrassed to post pictures.

I am also very jealous that you live in a climate where you can afford throwing a tank in the garage. That would never fly in New England here, which greatly limits my MTS expansion potential
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:42 PM   #153
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Default 13 Top Lessons Learned

1) From the "I shouldn't have done that" department

Creating some compartments on one side of the tank seemed like a good idea at the time, and it makes the whole thing visually more appealing. But it sure added a lot of complexity, hard to reach corners, and added epoxy area. Pumping the water out of one compartment works, but whenever the sponges start to get filthy, the water level goes dangerously low. I added a U tube that creates a bypass, but making it one compartment where the pump sucks water directly through the sponges would have been better. Each time I reach down to the bottom of the center filter compartment the water tends to overflow into the dry compartment.

2) From the "I didn't think of that" department

Having a center-brace-less tank is nice for maintenance, and no light blockage. I thought if for some reason it starts to bow, I will just add a small steel rod to fix that. With the canopy going into the tank, that isn't possible anymore. Ooops.

The back of the tank is reinforced with a 3x1 brace. To be able to access the pump chamber, I cut out some wood in a half circle. However, after screwing the canopy to that top I can not access the chamber at all, without removing all screws and the canopy. Uhm, ooops.

3) From the "This was not expected" department

Sliding the acrylic bottom into the profiles glued to the canopy was fairly easy. After a few days of moisture, it is near impossible to remove it. Either the wood somehow moved, or the moisture makes the acrylic stick to the plastic profile, either way, changing bulbs isn't going to be fun time. I still had the protective film attached to it, removing that might make it easier to slide. At least I hope.

4) From the "Not sure if that's good or bad" department

It has been cold during the first two weeks of this tank, down to freezing in the morning, and very brisk inside the garage. The Stealth heater that I am using is failing. And still temperatures in the tank have been pretty good, between 72 mornings and 74 evenings. That means that the insulation is excellent, and perhaps that the pump and lights add quite a bit of heat. I hope the latter isn't the case, because that would mean some unbearable temperatures in Summer, when we get our 3 weeks of hot weather. One thing that could save the day is the second tank without lights and pump at a much lower temp, I could just pump the cold water up to the hot tank. We shall see though, hopefully it is just great insulation, and the tank will maintain its temperature well.

5) From the "That worked out well" department

The AC70 powerhead only draws 17 Watts, but it provides good circulation via spraybar throughout the tank. I like efficient things, and this thing is super efficient.

Having a standpipe as an overflow is neat. No worries of water level going too high or too low, and surface skimming is a snap. There is some stuff on the surface, probably from the Kitty litter that I did not rinse too well, and watching it disappear after a few minutes is neat.


Besides all that, the tank is establishing itself pretty well. Going through the first few algae cycles, some brown and a little GDA, some fuzzy stuff, no problems with lots of plants, CO2 and ferts and light. I did get an outbreak of cyanobacteria (happens sometimes in new tanks), and luckily I had some EM tablets on hand for just this reason. Now at day 5, the BGA is hit hard and flaking off the plants, a few more days and nothing will be left of it.

For some reason I ended up with my little nieces Goldfish which she got from her teacher and lived in a plastic bag So that one is now living there along with a bunch of Endlers and Cherry Shrimp. I will send it off to the pond once temps get up a bit... if it behaves nicely and doesn't eat all the plants.

Once plants have grown in a bit more I will post an updated picture. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!

Last edited by Wasserpest; 04-02-2009 at 03:46 PM..
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:02 PM   #154
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If everything went as planned it might be a little scary for a while!!!
How are your RCS doing with Endlers. Don't your Endlers eat them?
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:54 PM   #155
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Endlers, especially mature females, might snatch a Cherry baby here and there, but in a large planted tank, the shrimp multiply quick enough to make up for it. Grown-up Cherries are safe from Endlers.
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:03 AM   #156
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**bows down repeatedly**

Absolutly wonderful, spectacular writeup and tons of good info here. Thanks for sharing everything with us, and congrats on making such a great setup. I want one!
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:43 PM   #157
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Thank you Adam, I am glad you like the write-up. Building the tank has been a lot of fun, and I am missing that "disappearing in the garage for hours" thing.

As I mentioned earlier, there was a BGA (cyanobacteria) outbreak, which I nuked with some Erythromycin. Since yesterday, all the previously covered plants are clean, and it is a pleasure to see all the new growth, the pink of Alternanthera and Sunset Hygro, the fresh green of Ambulia and Hottonia, and the bronze red of the Kleiner Bar Swords.

Another week and I will post an updated picture... I think.
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:39 PM   #158
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Looking forward to seeing the latest update!
I cant believe you actually filled'r up.
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:47 PM   #159
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As promised, here are some recent shots of the tank. Plant growth has been good, except for the ferns (Bolbitis, Java) which are a bit affected by various algae.

This is from a couple of days ago, after I added some more Ambulia:



Here is a detail shot:



Went hiking recently and grabbed some plants from a local river. I have no clue what they are, but there seemed to be two distinct stem plants (1 and 2) and a grass (3). One of the stem plants had narrow, long, bronze leaves, the other round, light green ones. Well turns out that they looked very different when growing in the shade and in the sun... now after a couple of days of rapid growth they look exactly alike.



I love my Lagarosiphon, besides Ambulia the only fine-leaved plant that doesn't mind my hard water and medium light. Isn't it pretty?



Last week I added four Otos to the tank. They were in bad shape as usual, but seem to eat and poop so I think they will all make it. Once they are past the two weeks or so mark they should last for several years.



Anubias didn't mind the change and started flowering right after being placed in the new tank.

Only a couple of days later, that Ambulia has totally taken off and over. Need to do some major trimming, and place it in the back, to replace some of the not so happy Bolbitis.

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Old 04-25-2009, 03:57 AM   #160
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I never should have helped talk you into drilling that first hole in the wall. Never....




You've become a Madman.......










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Old 04-25-2009, 04:41 AM   #161
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Looks great! . . . .Too bad it gets so cold here in MN, I think the garage is about the only place my wife would let me try something like this!
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Old 04-25-2009, 03:26 PM   #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
I never should have helped talk you into drilling that first hole in the wall. Never....




You've become a Madman.......




Before you know it, I'll bulldoze the house, and dig a basement to get another place to put more tanks.

But seriously, I find myself looking at your PC cooling solution, and pondering if this is something that could be used to cool tanks as well.
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Old 04-25-2009, 03:33 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpyfunk View Post
Looks great! . . . .Too bad it gets so cold here in MN, I think the garage is about the only place my wife would let me try something like this!
One of the surprises with this plywood tank is how well it holds the temperature. It has been in the upper forties last night, and the temperature dropped only about 2.5 degrees. And that is with the heater disconnected!

Plywood is a much better insulator than glass. I use a styrofoam sheet to cover the front glass at night, to reduce heat loss further. And I could do even better. There is a rather large hole in the top, where cables and water line and CO2 enter the tank. With some more thinking and planning, I could have closed that off as well and keep temps even better.

So theoretically, if you build a plywood tank and in addition to the wood use styrofoam sheets all around it, use a tight cover, plus a good heater, it should be possible. Whether it is a good idea in -20F weather is a different issue.
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Old 04-25-2009, 03:54 PM   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post

But seriously, I find myself looking at your PC cooling solution, and pondering if this is something that could be used to cool tanks as well.

It definitely could...either the rad setup or the geothermal. I'm adding Bong Coolers now.... Let me know when you're ready....
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:50 PM   #165
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If I put a radiator into the window, I'll get evicted.

But running a pipe underground seems like a possible undertaking. Ah well, got enough projects lined up at the moment, we'll see what mid summer does to the tank temperatures.

Also considering some sort of fan that sucks out the hottest air from the garage attic, and expels it through the vents.
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