This 180g acrylic came up on Craigslist for a good price ($240). It is a little rough but it is polishing up nicely. I am at a loss at what to do with the holes in the bottom. I know, patch them up and forget about them... it seems like they should be good for something though?
This tank will be a peninsula tank (the short side will be against the wall and the long sides will be visible from both sides). After MUCH consideration I decided I will drill the short side for a ghost type overflow to feed the Wet / Dry (trickle) sump. The bottom will be potting soil covered with a gravel cap. I do not plan on injecting CO2.
I have seriously considered running the return line behind the overflow, above the top of the tank, with a siphon break at the top, back down to under the tank then up through the current holes in the bottom. The loop above the water line with the siphon break (hole) will keep the returns from back siphoning during a power outage. Is this worth the trouble and extra plumbing?... it really won't be that hard to plumb.
The tank is 6' long. I will be making the stand 6' 6" long. I will be making the canopy 6' 6" long. The extra 6" at the back of the stand will be enclosed to hide the plumbing and wires and also connect the stand to the canopy. It would be relatively easy to put the siphon break loop back in this 6" x 24" enclosed area and still have it hidden. I really like the idea of the ghost overflow and no plumbing inside the tank... which the bottom holes would give me. I also like the idea of the bottom returns stirring up the bottom of the tank above the gravel and moving around the water down there.
Another thought is to run the ghost overflow / sump with a typical top return. Then run a closed loop water polishing canister filter drawing from the bottom at one end then returning to the bottom at the other end. The downside of this is I would loose the sump (and filter sock in the sump) as a pre-filter for the water polisher... meaning more frequent maintenance of the water polisher.
I have given SERIOUS consideration to using a center "Island" overflow that would leave all four sides of the tank clear of any plumbing. I like this idea as I could use the tank in the conventional against the wall position if I ever decided to move the location of the tank. There is a small patch on one of the small sides of the tank... the side I will drill for the overflow... which was the deciding factor to drill the tank on this small side and use it in a peninsula configuration.
Has anyone ever used bottom returns in a dirt bottom planted tank? Any thoughts on bottom returns in a dirt bottom planted tank?