Hello everyone! I decided to start this tank over again (it recently hosted my bows, who now reside in a 40 breeder). The previous build had gotten away from me, plants were suffering, algae had taken hold, I couldn't quite get the look I was going for - and essentially, it was time for a change. So here we are - and this time around I added and changed some things to make life (maintenance) easier.
The first step was to get rid of those pesky canister filters. I know everyone seems to swear by them, but for me they are just too much work. Crawling under the cabinet, disconnecting the hoses, dragging it over to the sink, cleaning it all out then climbing back in the cabinet and hooking it all back up was not something I looked forward to. As a result, the tank suffered, and ultimately so did my interest in 'keeping it up'. Therefore, I ordered an 800gph overflow from Modular Marine (I can't say enough good things about these guys) and proceeded to drill the tank.
As you can see in the photo above, I also drilled the back of the tank for water changes. Once a week, I can walk over, turn a valve (well, I actually have two for redundancy and as a fail-safe), and watch as the tank drains into a floor drain. No buckets, hoses, dragging canisters, etc.
Next up, the sump:
I decided to go with Poret foam after reading about it, talking with the owner, and seeing a few other tanks around with it. There is a massive surface area for bacteria to grow, and when it needs cleaning, it's simply a matter of sliding the foam out, giving it a quick rinse, and back in it goes.
The other half of the tank with return pump:
Next on the list - CO2. I wanted a good way to diffuse the CO2 that could also be hard-plumbed in. Coming from the SW/reef-tank side of things - I'm just wired to think this way. So, I've got what I coin 'The Beast':
And plumbed in:
This thing is roughly 30" tall with 2" PVC - which should give plenty of time for the CO2 to dissolve. Now...I just need a way to get CO2 to it. The regulator has two manifolds, one with a Dwyer to run the 75g and another with a simple needle valve to run the 40B. The manifolds will be controlled by my Apex monitor (which also is currently running my reef tank).
After it was all plumbed in, it was time to do the hardscape. I pondered for what seemed like months, and eventually decided on rocks - I have done driftwood and nearly every tank and I think I just honestly grew tired of 'the look'. I settled on petrified wood, sourced from a local stone supplier, and went to work placing the rocks. After an hour or two of struggling to get it just right, I realized that my failures in tank definitely do come from the design side of things. I just don't have the ability to envision it 6-12 months from now. Alas, I settled on the below (and don't mind the dirty glass):
Finally - the plants. I placed the order, and due to the COVID crisis going around - I didn't receive them until day 6 of shipment. They are pretty rough looking, but....I planted them anyways in hopes that they recover. Also - those are bubbles on the glass as I took the photo very shortly after filling the tank.
So, that was yesterday. It's progress and I'm happy to have the tank up and running. I am curious if the plants will make it as they still look VERY rough, only time will tell. If you've made it this far into my poor commentary and even worse photography skills, I appreciate it.