Starting a journal on our new 150G planted livestock container I setup for wintering our goldfish and turtle. A little backstory, this summer we moved into a new house that came with a little pond and stream water feature. This worked out really nice as our turtle was starting to outgrow his aquarium and needed an upgrade. We also added 2 goldfish (one Comet, one Shubunkin) and a bunch of water lettuce and water hyacinth. Everything did really great over the summer. Due to the size of the pond (one of those plastic inserts you place in the ground, only about 150G as well) we didn't want to tackle trying to winter everyone outside. Figured it would be difficult even for the goldfish, and weren't sure if it was even feasible for the turtle. I wasn't interested in buying and setting up a 150G+ aquarium, and had always wanted to do an indoor pond type setup.
The tank is a Rubbermaid Commercial 150G livestock tub. One of the reasons I went with this was because it already had a drain bulkhead installed. In retrospect it probably would have been better going with a completely sealed container, and drill it for any plumbing as needed. This was my first time DIYing anything major with aquaria, so it's really been a learning experience. But overall the tank is sturdy and durable, and very light for it's size (I carried it down the basement stairs by myself pretty easily).
It uses a sump filter, and both the tank and sump are at ground level (well, the sump ended up elevated a few inches). Maybe not the easiest or best way, but like doing an indoor pond I always wanted to do a sump filter. I had to do a lot of testing and tuning to get it working properly. Here is the thread I started in the DIY section that has some additional discussion and my testing results: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...-overflow.html
I'm quite happy with how it turned out. The drain side required an automated siphon break to prevent overflow during power loss or any other reason the sump gets too high. I used a motor operated ball valve controlled by float switch and relay. The return side has a venturi for aerating the return flow, and also does double-duty as a siphon break for the return side. I made a DIY venturi muffler like many of the saltwater folks use with their protein skimmers, it was incredibly effective. Filter media is coarse pond filter pad from my local pond store, Hygger ceramic media, and plastic bio-balls. Return pump is a Hygger DC adjustable rated for 800GPH. Currently running at 60% output.
I chose to do the plumbing on the front side of the tank. One main reason was I was paranoid about leakage so I wanted it visible. It also made plumbing everything with the tank and sump in place easier. The downsides are that it doesn't look as nice, and you have to be a little mindful not to kick or otherwise disturb it. If everything goes well with it for this year I will probably flip the whole thing around next year so the sump is on the left and the plumbing is hidden in the back.
The lighting is pretty simple. I built a wooden frame and mounted the bulb holders. The center one is just the socket and reflector from one of those clamp-lamps with the clamp removed. It has a combo heat & UV bulb for turtle to bask under, so needed the ceramic socket to withstand heat. The left and right are LED grow bulbs (24W, 1800lm each). The fixtures are meant for photography lighting, they mounted to the wooden frame easily and I can adjust the angle which is nice. All the lights are wired into a junction box. It's on a timer but I also included a switch to easily turn lights on/off manually, and an extra outlet for a convenient place to hook up my utility pump for water changes.
There is still some work I want to do. Things ended up taking longer than expected (isn't that always the case!?) and next thing I know the weather was saying 35deg this past Sat night so I wanted the critters to come inside. Still need to mess around with the mechanical section of the sump. I only have one layer of coarse filter pad in there right now, I want to add another pad or sponge of slightly finer grade. Or at least another layer of the coarse pad. I also want to add some larger stones in the tub, make some hiding places for the fish and additional area the turtle can hang out. Another thing I'd like to do is put in some type of shelf for growing emersed plants, and add to the plants in general. Also some little clean up things (wire clean up, mounting bracket instead of duct tape securing the return line LOL).
I'll update as I continue working on things. Any questions or comments are always welcome. Thanks for looking!