Racking system - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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Racking system

So I build an aquarium rack with 2x4's and cindar blocks last summer for breeding livebearers and I've been wanting to set up the system so all the tanks are connected into one system using one sump. I previously had a bunch of 10 gallon aquariums on the rack, but I think I'm going to try my hand at some angels (pinoy lace is one of my favorite).

By this extremely rough drawing I did in paint, you can get the idea of what I was thinking. I'm just looking for suggestions, words of encouragement, or anything that you guys can think of that would improve the design.

I plan on running HOB filters into the larger tanks to give them some good flow because that's where my breeding pairs will go. Top tanks will be used for fry and juveniles. I have a 75 gallon tank that I will be using as a growout, but this rack will be where the majority of my fish will be kept.

One important aspect of the system is that the tanks will NOT be drilled. Instead I plan on building 5 PVC overflows for each tank and piping them into the row underneath, and then into the sump. Live plants will be used throughout, so I'm going to need to think of different ways to keep them (and the fry) from getting sucked down the overflow.

I'm thinking of different ways that I could do water changes, but right now I'm either going to create a rain barrel that would store some freshwater for me, or just figure out a way that I can hook up the hose into the system and then just have an overflow in the sump that goes to the drain in my basement.

Thanks for taking the time to read! Once again, just looking for your opinion on the setup and if you know of any improvements then let me know. Right or wrong I just want some feedback.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 07:05 PM
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Not really understanding how you'll pull off the PVC overflow. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Have to think drilling the tanks much be easier top live with and maybe cheaper to build.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Not really understanding how you'll pull off the PVC overflow. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Have to think drilling the tanks much be easier top live with and maybe cheaper to build.
It's much cheaper and easier to build PVC overflows than to drill a tank. Plus once you drill a tank you can't "undrill" it haha Here is a link to the first webpage that I found that shows what one looks like.

http://forums.saltwaterfish.com/t/29...y-pvc-overflow

I plan on using 3/4 inch PVC which should handle the flow just fine. Using a 690gph return pump, I should be getting at least 200gph in each tank on the top and that flow continues through the system. Ultimately I have at least 600gph going through a 120+ gallon system (including sump). That being said, each tank will be turned over at least 10x per hour which is very good flow.

If I want to change the setup, like add smaller tanks to replace large ones, all I have to do is build more overflow which would run about $5 each.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 09:11 PM
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For breeder tanks I really recommend sponge filters.

If you have good breeding stock and one tank gets sick, you'll wipe out your entire rack in one sweep...

I have a rack on a central system and I hate it. It is "easy" but my racks on sponge filters are much easier to deal with. Glass bottom tanks are the way to go.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2012, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
For breeder tanks I really recommend sponge filters.

If you have good breeding stock and one tank gets sick, you'll wipe out your entire rack in one sweep...

I have a rack on a central system and I hate it. It is "easy" but my racks on sponge filters are much easier to deal with. Glass bottom tanks are the way to go.
Very good point and that aspect makes me scared to do something like this, but getting sick fish is usually the result of poor water quality. I guess I would just have to be careful not to introduce any sick fish into the system and keep my parameters in check. If it comes down to it and I change my mind, I could always "turn off" the system and have HOB and sponge filters in each tank. Then I would just use the old sump chamber as a clean water holding tank for water changing, using the overflows to expel the old water into the drain.

These are the types of comments I would like to see folks. Thanks a lot Overstocked! Got me thinking!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 04:20 AM
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I have a couple of tank that have PVC overflows with a central sump. Never any disease outbreak, or overflow issues. Makes dosing and water changes much easier. All the heaters are in the same place With that said... it also looks bad. I should have, and still might, drill the tanks. Cheaper tanks are worth more drilled. If you daisy chain the tanks on each level you'd really only need to pump water from the lowest level to the highest. One tank would flow to the next, then that one would fill the next, etc. Of coarse you'd want a second hole in each one that would take over if one of the holes got clogged. In my case the second hole runs to the sump.

On the other hand allllll of the freshwater fish rooms I've seen, every one of them, use sponge filters with a central air pump.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 04:54 AM
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It isn't that you haven't had any issues with disease... It is that if it happens, you're screwed. Disease happens to the best of us. Seriously... even amazing breeders have problems with disease at some point.

You'll notice all of the big angelfish breeders use sponge filters. It isn't just because they're cheap(some of them use way overpriced ones.....).

Sponge filters or HMF filters or even UGF filters are so easy to use and so hard to screw up. IN combination with a bare bottom glass tank, they are the best bet for breeding purposes.

For the record, 20H seem to be popular Angelfish pair tanks.

Just think, if you don't use a sump, it'd give you another row for tanks.

For my water changes I just use a pvc hook attached to a hose. Drain to a preset level(the hook is set to 50% depth) and then fill back up. Easy peasy.

Failure points in a central system are numerous, so remember that. For a fish room, you should consider heating the ROOM, not each tank. Very easy to do with a decent space heater.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Profector View Post
I have a couple of tank that have PVC overflows with a central sump. Never any disease outbreak, or overflow issues. Makes dosing and water changes much easier. All the heaters are in the same place With that said... it also looks bad. I should have, and still might, drill the tanks. Cheaper tanks are worth more drilled. If you daisy chain the tanks on each level you'd really only need to pump water from the lowest level to the highest. One tank would flow to the next, then that one would fill the next, etc. Of coarse you'd want a second hole in each one that would take over if one of the holes got clogged. In my case the second hole runs to the sump.

On the other hand allllll of the freshwater fish rooms I've seen, every one of them, use sponge filters with a central air pump.
That's exactly what I planned to do. The output from the top overflows would go into the next row of tanks. I guess my sketch is pretty...sloppy and doesnt show it that well.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
It isn't that you haven't had any issues with disease... It is that if it happens, you're screwed. Disease happens to the best of us. Seriously... even amazing breeders have problems with disease at some point.

You'll notice all of the big angelfish breeders use sponge filters. It isn't just because they're cheap(some of them use way overpriced ones.....).

Sponge filters or HMF filters or even UGF filters are so easy to use and so hard to screw up. IN combination with a bare bottom glass tank, they are the best bet for breeding purposes.

For the record, 20H seem to be popular Angelfish pair tanks.

Just think, if you don't use a sump, it'd give you another row for tanks.

For my water changes I just use a pvc hook attached to a hose. Drain to a preset level(the hook is set to 50% depth) and then fill back up. Easy peasy.

Failure points in a central system are numerous, so remember that. For a fish room, you should consider heating the ROOM, not each tank. Very easy to do with a decent space heater.
You're opinion is really starting to change my mind on the whole central system design, but in a good way I suppose. I've been doing sponge filters in each tank with a central air pump, but one of the problems I had with that was airlines hanging everywhere (mostly my fault for not being organized I suppose). I really would love the HMF in all my tanks, but I'm cheap and I'm pretty sure after shipping it would cost me more than I want to spend. Worth looking into again though. Those would definitely help with cleaning because I always hate physically taking out the sponge to get all the debris that collects around then and on them. What I've been sadly missing are plecos or cories in my breeding tanks to clean the bottom of leftover food.

That PVC hook idea will definitely be copied Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe I'll hook up a PVC drain line on each row so I can just put the end of the hose into the drain and walk away. Or even better, drain all my tanks at once using multiple hooks and then fill then back up using the overhead fill line controlled with ball valves coming from the freshwater sump instead of pumping cold water from the outside hose. EXCELLENT!

I'm not worried about the bottom row being used for tanks. I've used it for tanks before, but I hated it being so low to the ground so I never kept fish in it and those tanks usually ended up being the graveyard of dying, sick, or algae covered plants.
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