starting a 300g planted aquarium project - will need assistance in planning - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-17-2016, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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starting a 300g planted aquarium project - will need assistance in planning

Hi all,
I've had planted discus aquariums for many years, but in simple and small settings, starting with 50g and moving 100g about 8 years ago. Now I am planing a ~300g "dream" project. I would really appreciate some advise from people more experienced with larger tanks here.

Size is not yet fixed - only the length is fixed at 94,5" (240cm); for the width I am thinking 24" (60cm) and for height 28" (70cm) or 32" (80cm) - this would lead to a tank of roughly 300g-340g. Any thoughts on this ratio here? Would going for a higher 32" tank make sense?

Next thing I need to decide is the filtering. I currently use EHEIM professionel 3 1200XLT (450gph) in my 100g tank, which is OK, but it is still too loud for me - I love quiet evenings and any "noise" bothers me. So silence of the filter is of absolute highest priority for me.
Now - going to 400g, I would probably need to have at least two such EHEIM tanks or one Fulval FX6 (~925gph). Will that be enough at all or will I need 2x Fulvals? I hear Fulvals are quite good for large tanks but even noisier then EHEIM? Any experience on this? What about the pricey ADA Superjet ES-2400? Any experience of how loud is its external Iwaki pump? Cost is no issue here - the performance is and the noise level is especially critical. Would anyone have any clever recommendations how to sound-proof the housing / cabinet under the aquarium where the filter is kept in order to keep the leaking noise to a minimum?

I will also need to think about the lights. It seems LEDs are becoming more and more popular? I currently use T5 lights... should I consider LED instead? What would be some good LED producers available in Europe?

I will have more questions to follow, but these are, I think, the most essential to start moving forward with the project.

Many thanks in advance for any help and/or suggestions.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 05:11 AM
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I had a 240 gallon tank, 8x2x2 ft. The biggest issue I found was given the tank dimensions, height of the stand, plus the top bracing, it could be difficult to reach back areas and the bottom of the tank. For me, I am 5' 10" and it meant standing on a foot stool to reach parts of the tank, and even then having my arm completely in the tank.

Something to think about as you pick your tank dimension and the aquascape you want.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 11:57 PM
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I didnt have such large aquarium (only 60L) but still. What about owerflow (sump)?


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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-19-2016, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Sump looks like a good way to go - i'm looking into it. Thanks for suggesting!
My aquarium will be open on three sides with only the rear facing the wall with a bit of space behind: would people here recommend making an overflow like the BeanAnimal solution here, or would you suggest drilling a hole through the bottom glass and make the entire overflow inside the four walls of the aquarium?


Also, I have another question, that I cannot find a suitable solution to, but I'm sure it has been done many times already: I have piping available in the wall behind the aquarium to allow incoming fresh soft water and outgoing water drain. Is there any good solution that would allow automatic water change? I.e. 10-20g per day in and out via a time-controlled switch. Perhaps incoming water directly into the aquarium and outgoing water through a dedicated valve in the sump? Anyone did something similar?

And finally, any recommendations for a good LED maker for aquarium lights? Something that would give a complete solutions - I would not go down the DIY way here... with concerns about wavelengths, cooling, ventilation, waterproofing etc. Any suggestions?
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-19-2016, 07:10 PM
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I just set up my 180 with a bean animal drain, external overflow (3' long) and love it. Only downside is having to reach over the tank to make adjustments to the middle drain. I set up the drain with the tank off the wall so I could get back there, check for leaks and get the in overflow piping just right, then moved the tank to it's final spot. Doing it again I would keep the long overflow section, but have it drilled so the actual drains were closer spaced to one end or the other (whichever end would be more accessible with the tank set up) rather than spaced evenly down the overflow. It would also help with piping the sump and eliminate some of the less direct routes I had to run.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-19-2016, 11:44 PM
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My dad had a 120 gallon with all the filters and refugium piped through the wall, into the garage, on the same platform that held the houses water heater. Tank was in the living room. Not hard to cut through a wall, and easy to patch up/ paint.

That's the only and best solution for dead quiet operation. What's your homes floor layout like? What's on the other side of the wall from where you plan on setting up this 300g behemoth?

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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 01:03 AM
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Following this. What you're doing here is more or less my dream setup for when I"m settled down after my education (college, medical school, etc.).

I've definitely seen automatic water changes done. I'm not a technical guy so don't know the exact specifics, but this is more common in the reef and marine hobby so I'd suggest checking out some of those builds. Are you using tap or RO water? Each would have its own different considerations for use in an auto-water change system. The reef builds are more relatable if using RO. Personally this is the route I will go since most places in the US have terrible tap water for discus and planted tanks.

I'd look into an Apex controller, as it can manage all sorts of things such as lights, heaters, CO2, and switching any outlets on/off. These are also very widely used in the reef community.

As for LEDs there are a lot of fancy ones out there. But if I understand correctly with the Apex even a basic LED will be programmable (sunrise, sunset, etc.).

I imagine a sump would be preferable over a canister, as it would be difficult to provide sufficient laminar flow with just a canister or two. And I imagine the really huge ones would be a pain to maintain...

Good luck with your build and please keep us posted.

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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for feedback and tips.
My house would not allow it drilling through the wall - I have a toilet on the other side in the hall before entering the main living room, so the 94,5" wall the aquarium will be set against has a hall on one side and kitchen / dining room on the other; the aquarium is nicely seen from both the living room and the dining room. My plumbing in the wall goes straight into basement; so I have an incoming soft water and outgoing drain pipes all set up this way.
The water is not RO: I have a central whole-house system in the basement with multi-stage purifier and ion-exchange water softener; the water coming out of the tap is great and I used it for my current 100g discus aquarium now for quite some time with great result - water is perfect, fish are happy. So no RO needed - straight out of the tap.

Pretty sure now I'll be going with a sump, not a canister. Still need to decide whether to drill holes into the bottom glass or have the overflow like the image above and drill from the back.

The most time I'm currently spending is trying to figure out a reliable automatic water change system for this set-up. Would I try to do a constant drip type water change or an on-off switch with timer that replaces e.g. 20g of water during the night. How to control the water levels properly? Should I do this in the main aquarium (in/out), or the sump, or a combination of both (pure water into the main and waste water out of the sump)? I must make it so that I don't disrupt the water level in the main aquarium to keep the aquarium/sump working properly.
Any experience on this?

...and a separate question: what pump would you guys consider would be the quietest to use in the sump to pump, lets say about 1000-1200gph?
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 01:50 PM
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DC pumps are very quiet....unfortunately some people have higher failure rates with them. Most of my recent research found that like anything these days, if you get a good one life is great, otherwise it could fail. Instead of buying an expensive one, I bought two less expensive ones so if the one dies, I can immediately replace it. I can barely hear it run and it only raised the temp 2 degrees while running. I also found good reviews of the fluval return pump if you want to go more traditional.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 03:10 PM
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For a planted tank a drip system would be counterproductive - it'd be hard to maintain consistent CO2 and nutrient levels.

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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astex View Post
DC pumps are very quiet....unfortunately some people have higher failure rates with them.
DC pumps would be external or submersible? I would imagine submersible would be quieter. I was considering Eheim pump, and I know most people feel very positively about them, but I was never too impressed with the Eheim canister filters regarding their noise. Although honestly I never had anything else then Eheim - perhaps it would drive me nuts if I had anything else and would be even more loud

What about the "iwaki pump"? ADA use it on their canisters... I would imagine they are bulletproof but I would guess they are not the quietest...

Bottom line: I do not care about the cost at all. Considering all the other expenses, I'm willing to pay a multiple of the "average" to get the quietest pump here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrodi202 View Post
For a planted tank a drip system would be counterproductive - it'd be hard to maintain consistent CO2 and nutrient levels.
I agree. It will have to be on/off with several "safety" measures to ensure there is no overflooding or draining. I would most like to get this water change done via sump. It would also allow for leveling the water to compensate for some evaporation during summer... I just haven't fully figured out how to make the piping properly yet.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 05:45 PM
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I haven't looked into it myself but I know auto top-off using RO water is very common amongst reefers. If you're just looking to compensate for evaporation you'd want to use RO water or the hardness in the tank would build up over time (salts don't evaporate).

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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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I a 300g tank you wouldn't notice this. The evaporation would be minimal compared to continuous water change. And regardless of the system, one would have to do a manual maintenance clean-up and water change once every few months anyway. So I don't think increased hardness would be an issue here.

Still looking forward to hear people chiming in regarding quiet pumps and LED makers?
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 07:03 PM
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I don't have too much experience with pumps myself but can tell you the Mag Drive pumps aren't particularly quiet. The Iwaki pumps are held in high regard but I have no idea as to noise level.

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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-20-2016, 07:07 PM
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[QUOTE=snowman1235;9409769]DC pumps would be external or submersible? I would imagine submersible would be quieter. I was considering Eheim pump, and I know most people feel very positively about them, but I was never too impressed with the Eheim canister filters regarding their noise. Although honestly I never had anything else then Eheim - perhaps it would drive me nuts if I had anything else and would be even more loud

What about the "iwaki pump"? ADA use it on their canisters... I would imagine they are bulletproof but I would guess they are not the quietest...
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I run my pump in the sump and it's dead quiet (I hear the water gurgling more than pump).

Most DC Pumps can be run either external or internal. There are the less expensive ($200 ish) chinese ones (Jebao), the higher priced ($700+) german ones, and then Ecotech just released one as well (Vectra).

Eheims are well regarded, but it wouldn't be powerful enough for your stated wished for flow. Of course, you could run multiple pumps for a return if you wished.

The external Iwaki/Reefdarts etc...tend to be well regarded as well, but also louder.

Really I think you need to first decide what flow you want at the tank, whether you want an internal or external pump on your sump, and and then you can go from there.

The basic pump rating listed is usually assuming 0ft of head. However to pick a pump you need to consider the 4-6 ft just to get to the top of the tank, plus the losses from how you plumb it. If you can, it helps to find the flow curves on the pumps, as they can tell you what the pump can output at a certain head loss.

If you do some googling on the saltwater boards (Reef Central etc...) you can find more than you ever wanted to know about sump pumps, favorite brands, reviews etc....just ignore most of what they say about actual sump design as most of it is not relevant to freshwater.
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