What to chose, what to chose….
Well, the tank was a given. My old 90 gallon LeeMar with the drilled bottom. LeeMar tanks were built very well and this one is still solid. This pointed to me using the bottom ports for my filtration system. Unfortunately, this ruled out a sump. Maybe not as bad as it seems though as the bottom section of the tank kind of functions like a sump. I can hide my heater, pumps and CO2 there. I also still had the stand. It would have been nice to get something with a 24 inch width and maybe a 5 or 6 ft length, but, this was a bit of an experiment. Figured I would learn first and version two can wait.
The tank has three, 1” bulk heads. Two act as filter inlets on one side, and one as the filter outlet on the other side. Pics below:
The outlet has a ¾” LocLine split into two channels. These point up and at the side wall to spread out the flow.
Originally, I used a Lifegard Aquatics 14000 that I had purchased when I hoped to do a pond. It sat, unused for 8 years. The pump was rated for 3000 gph but was an AC pump. Not efficient!. This was proven out when I tested my set up. The pump threw a ton of heat into the water. I pulled the plug when the tank got to 86 degrees and still climbing! So…
So long LifeGard 14000
…The Ecotech Marine Vectra L1.
Much quieter. Much easier on the electricity bill. Same power, upto 3100 gph at zero head pressure. As a DC pump, it was also flow adjustable so I could dial in the flow I needed. Currently I am operating at 30% ( up from 20% I used initially). This was a blow to the piggy bank though. Especially since I had already purchased…
The Maxspect Gyre XF 280!
This is the heart of the system. It is rated up to 6000 gph and this linear flow sweeps fully across the 17 inch width of the tank. It too is adjustable and I am running this at 50% of capacity. I cranked it up once to see what it would look like, Well I spent the next hour trying to siphon out the sand from the bottom compartment. More power than I need unless I decide to go with a deeper water lay out.
Sitting next to my pond pump for 8 years or so, unused, was a big filter housing and a 20 inch tall by 8.5” wide pleated cartridge (70 sq ft, 30 microns) by Purflo. It probably holds 4 gallons of water when filled. There is also room for media bags of charcoal or Purigen as needed. A pic:
Did you notice the garden hose at the bottom? One of my favorite features of this filter is that valve at the bottom. Water changes are a breeze! It helps that this is in the garage of course – I could never have that monster filter in the house.
Always an adventure. First draw out your detailed plan. Show every fitting you will need. Use plenty of valves and unions – you will thank me. Here is mine:
What? You were expecting this to be organized and legible? That probably explains why I average at least three trips to the hardware store to buy plumbing parts. Crud, the plants are already arriving! Wish I could plan better…
The fittings get expensive, especially tru-unions. For this reason I try to incorporate threaded fittings as much as possible. Slip joints never seem to leak, but, they are forever. Your $40 tru union can last through many scapes if you can disassemble it! As mentioned, threaded joints leak. Expect to redo a few, tighten a few more, etc. One suggestion, especially if you are using 1” pipes and larger. Use Teflon joint sealer. Get the non-setting type.
And what is this thing? A musical instrument?
No. Well maybe? No!
This manifold is for attaching items like chillers or UV systems that need a reduced flow. The large middle ball valve can be partially closed to divert more or less flow to your chiller or UV as needed. I have added a 1/10 hp chiller for later in the summer when to garage gets hot.
What else? Oh, yes.
Boy I went back and forth on this one. Read as many Jeff Kroll posts as possible. Decided I didn’t understand most of them and then created my short list anyways. This tank is going to house an awfuchs (aufuks? awlfu…better stop now before I get introuble!} Periphyton eater.
Per Wikipedia: “Periphyton is a complex mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, heterotrophic microbes, and detritus that is attached to submerged surfaces in most aquatic ecosystems. The related term Aufwuchs (German "surface growth" or "overgrowth") refers to the collection of small animals and plants that adhere to open surfaces in aquatic environments”
So how to grow this and not BBA and hair algae? I decided again to get a strong light that can be adjusted for intensity and wave length. In the end, I chose three AI Primes.
Yes, they are mounted to my old Current USA Satellite pro fixture. At least it is finally being useful. Long story. The aluminum frame is pretty strong! The lights are hung from an angle iron and are very solid. Not living room pretty but definitely garage ready!
My side grates are made of 17” x 4” x ½” white plastic egg crate light panels covered with a sheet of #5 wire mesh. 304 stainless steel. Total open area of 71%. The openings are 3/16” small enough to block any critters from getting sucked into the basement (except fry). The mesh was glued on with silicone adhesive.
I have an Apex system and added the following to control and monitor the new tank:
Conductivity probe – tracking that aragonite in the bio plates
Pumps – feed button and on/off. I think there are more things controllable on the pumps but that is another project
A long post – sorry.
I’ll discuss planting and stocking plans next time.