50G with 30G sump - month 10 update - Page 4
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:10 PM   #46
crazymittens
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Thanks, but you should give kudos to this forum and the people in it...I'm really just taking bits and pieces of design from others and applying the concepts to my situation. Glad you're enjoying it though! (admit it...it's all the pretty pictures, isn't it?)

Quick update on the sump testing...went out this morning to take a look.



Yup, the drip tray area water level is right up to the trim now - twice the level it started at! This is why we test things, folks.

I turned off the pumps, let it settle, and turned them back on. Within a minute or two the level was right back up to the trim...odd. The drip holes did not look clogged, and were still flowing the same as before.

Decided to move the pump hoses into a position more resembling what the drains will be doing (vertical flow in the center area of the drip tray), and left things running. Will be out there later on today, so we'll see how it goes.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:13 PM   #47
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Protip: Getting clean lines with silicone involves removing the tape while the silicone is WET!!

Things I would do differently next time...
  • Mask off the overflow glass
  • Make a fancier jig so that I could pull all the tape at once
  • Use more silicone so I don't end up with gaps









Also, I totally forgot to tape the overflow glass...whups. Guess I'll be razoring the grossness off. I was using the level to ensure that the tank itself was level, and then I could verify that the overflow glass was square.

I moved the glass out of the way, applied a good bead of silicone, and then placed the glass. After I lined it up, made sure it was square, I then used my handy latex gloves to smear the bead so it was smooth and consistent across the whole length.

Would have been a lot nicer if I'd used more silicone and masked off the overflow glass! As it is, I think it'll work fine. Finally, the centrepoint for the return holes in the other piece of overflow glass will be almost exactly in the middle, so that was nice to discover.



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Old 08-28-2012, 12:00 AM   #48
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Protip: Definitely mask things first, trimming with the blade is not an easy task.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:01 PM   #49
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Ok, real quick update. Been busy with life, hopefully more progress this weekend.
  • Drill bits arrived, so overflow is being finished this week/weekend
  • Ended up (trial and error) with 1/8" drip holes
  • Sump is so close...
  • Plant pickup schedule forthcoming...

I have some pictures, but won't bother posting them, not really informative. I marked out the water lines for the sump after drilling the drip holes out last night (ended up at 1/8"), and checked the levels this morning: All good! Holding about 1.5" of water above the trays, that should work out well. Just that pesky filter to source...

The set of bits arrived for the overflow return through holes, so will drill them tomorrow maybe. I'm hoping to have the overflow assembled before the weekend so I have plenty of time to mock up plumbing.

Finally, we are getting really close to actually having a fish tank, and not just some expensive exercise in fabrication. I will be calling Menagerie back as soon as the plumbing checks out.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:56 AM   #50
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Update time...been busy.


This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you do NOT enter the shop when under the weather:



Thankfully the tank itself was undamaged (we'll see how it holds up to a week of live testing), and I think the chips themselves are marginal problems for an internal overflow.

Drilling the return holes:
Once again, I made a newbie mistake. The drill bits I ordered were fine...if 3/4" was the OD. Ya. Whups.

Anyway, all it will cost me (besides the not-useful-at-the-moment drill bits) is another $10 for one more 3/4" bulkhead. Could be worse.

Glass drilled out much faster - not sure if it's due to newer and thinner glass, or what. Took all of 10 minutes to drill, and thanks to drilling into the firmly taped bottom and sacrificial piece of wood, the chipout was minimal, much better than last time.





Taped up the overflow glass this time, as well as the interior:


The overflow jig:
I really didn't want to get too fancy, so simple it was! Yes, that is a square clamped to the brace. And yes, it was level. Aside from preventing me taking the tape out, worked great!





The result:
Apologies...pics are awful.





A look at the return 'through' system:
There will be a bulkhead at each piece of glass.



Now, for another issue that puzzles me...the sump levels are...wacky.





You can see how the water level where the 'dripping' takes place is now a good 0.5-1.0" higher, and the return area with the pumps is down about 1.0". The drip hole size must be okay though, because that level has not changed a bit since initially settling down.

Weird. I will not draw any conclusions until I get the full system plumbed up and tested for a full week.

I am happy about how well the dry-erase marker works for this task.

Also...putting more rocks into the sump on the trays when I move everything around.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:26 PM   #51
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It's alive!!!

Okay, but first the painful steps to get there...

Assembling piping and sump:




Mistake #1
The tank was not level! This, of course, meant that the weir was only functional along 2/3 of the overflow.




Returns plumbed...creatively:
Due to the physical constraints of my test area, I didn't have enough height to properly install the plumbing, so had to be a little creative in how it all fit together.



Really creative...
Big Al's doesn't stock 3/4" bulkheads...good ole duct tape to the rescue. Handy indeed.



Filling the tank:


Problem:
The drains were not working correctly, I guessed, because the level got almost to the point of overflowing the emergency drain.





Note the 2/3 weir.




So I (thanks to my wife's suggestion) limited the flow from one of the pumps.



A step in the right direction, for the wrong reasons.




Solutions:
First, I 'submerged' the drains, just by adding a coupling that extended the piping to just below the water level. You will note I also have my coarse filter in place. Such a cost...ouch.



Second, I made the 'adjusted' drain completely air-tight (supposed to be in the design anyway). Yes, that is a latex glove zip-tied to the top of the drain.



New water level:


Full weir:
Forgot to mention...I levelled the tank during all this (well, the stand), so now a nice full weir is present!




Summary of what I learned:
  • The full-siphon drain pipe must be completely air-tight - 100%, not 99%
  • The tank must be level for the weir to function properly
  • Duct tape functions as a ghetto bulkhead
  • A functioning coast-to-coast w. BeanAnimal is totally worth the effort.

A note on adjusting the full-siphon drain...not sure why people are suggesting gate valves over ball valves, works great as designed. Anyway, if I crack it open one more 'tick', the entire overflow drains in seconds - at this point it's stable and only a dribble is going down the secondary drain.

I tested by unplugging the pumps - overflow drained in seconds, then just the trickle from the duct tape bulkhead coming in. Plugged them back in, and things had stabilized (full siphon) within 30 seconds.

Super excited....we're almost there! More info on next steps to come.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:39 PM   #52
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So, what's left?

This coming week:
  1. Let plumbing test run for one week (at least until next weekend).
  2. Find permanent solution to keeping all drains air-tight.
  3. Order bulkhead.
  4. Confirm with Menagerie about plant pick-up.
  5. Contact shrimp people on GTAaquaria, co-ordinate for pick-up.
  6. Double-check list for cycling.

One week at a time...
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:21 AM   #53
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lookin good man! great progress
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:14 PM   #54
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Thanks!

I played around with the valve yesterday, my thoughts are that the secondary drain should be accepting enough water to semi-fill the pipe. Why? Anything less tends to crash down the length of the pipe, adding a very small amount of noise.

Also, definitely need to seal up the secondary inside the cap. I am thinking that I'll just use silicone. It should come out with some twisting if necessary, and since this is slip cap -> threaded adapter, no worries of it locking threads up.

I made a shelving unit for our pantry yesterday, so not a lot of progress. Hopefully some more updates by end of day today. Yay Labour day long weekend.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:15 PM   #55
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Ha, ok more things I need to pick up:
  1. Ammonia to do fishless cycle
  2. Small packet of fish food
  3. Shrimp food

Not much of an update...just lists being checked off.

Progress
  1. Plumbing test is underway.
  2. Will silicone drains tonight.
  3. Bulkhead is arriving tomorrow.
  4. Calling Menagerie tonight.
  5. Contacted Aaron on GTAaquaria, he has plenty of RCS, available when I'm ready.
  6. Cycling requires more shtuff.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:33 PM   #56
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Quick update...the silicone on the caps works brilliantly. Still not sure about how I'm going to fix the secondary drain air line in place...one item off the list, one item on the list.

Also confirmed that even if the return bulkheads fail (the ones in the overflow box) and the tank drains below that level, the sump water levels are okay. This should 'in theory' mean that if the ball check-valves stick open, there should be just enough space to accommodate whatever siphons out. I think I might 'arch' the flex line and drill a hole just in case.

One other note on check valves...they rattle...a lot. That is unfortunate. Even more so that I have already glued them in place.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:28 PM   #57
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Bulkhead is in, and appears to have a minor leak - I think because the plumbing is not glued-up. More testing prior to the weekend I guess! Hm...tomorrow is Thursday.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:45 AM   #58
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Bulkhead leak?
Ok, here's the leak. Hm...I think I'll have to really check this out tomorrow.



Chip issue
That chip is coming back to haunt me - letting water into the overflow after the weir has stopped flowing.



Siphon
The siphon line for the secondary drain is sort of in the overflow...not sure if that's a real issue - it still functions perfectly (tested and verified).



Now with less ghetto!
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:36 AM   #59
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Adjusted the return outputs. Higher-output pump is now pushing along the back, and lighter along the front.






More to come this weekend...
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:50 PM   #60
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Ok, list time...

Tonight
  1. Drain water from tank and sump
  2. Remove pumps/heater
  3. Clean tank and sump glass (exterior)
  4. Caulk chipped area of overflow (trim Saturday)
  5. Disassemble plumbing (check out that leaky bulkhead) & clean
  6. Fabricate/paint hood

Saturday
  1. Trim caulking patch on overflow
  2. Move sump into place
  3. Move tank into place
  4. Check level of tank (ensure weir will be even)
  5. Plumbing dry install, measure, cut
  6. Plumbing glue-up
  7. Fabricate/install brackets to support plumbing
  8. Run power & set up UPSes
  9. Substrate layout (hardscape->MTS->gravel)

Sunday
  1. Do water tests
  2. Establish baseline in notebook
  3. Pick up ammonia & dechlorinator/fish food

Jeepers! Lots to do. I need to figure out a solution for a cover/hood - at this point will try and make one (wood & paint) rather than do the glass route - too expensive at this stage. Lots of DIY stuff out there on light hoods that I've seen, so not too difficult.
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