Some questions on my tank design - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Some questions on my tank design

Hopefully this link is visible. It is a 3d sketch for a new tank (minus the sump) that I'm thinking about building.

Use your mouse wheel to zoom, and right mouse button to change viewing angle.

The tank measures 140x140x40cm. In the middle of the tank I have an overflow box, and water is returned to an adjacent chamber.

The two yellow pipes in the overflow box are a herbie overflow.
The black pipe in the adjacent box is the return.

To promote water circulation the overflow takes in water from the bottom half of the tank (where the fish crap is) through a grill, then up over a baffle. I'll call this the baffle guard. I may also allow some water to come in over the top of the guard to act as a skimmer. On the return side, the water goes over a baffle to prevent back siphoning if the sump return pump dies. What flow rate will I need on my return pump to ensure sufficient circulation?

I would like water in my tank to be filled right to the brim (important). To ensure this I think I will need to tinker with the height of the overflow baffle. My idea is to add some lines of silicon on the top of the baffle. Thoughts?
Not shown will be a round plug on the same baffle, but 2cm lower. Opening this plug will cause the water to flow through the hole on its way to the sump, bypassing the top of the baffle. The effect will be that tank water height will drop 2cm, which will be useful when performing maintenance. I may make this plug adjustable to allow for a range of different heights.

The return side also houses a light blue tube with is my RO water source. I intend to do automatic changes / topoffs. RO water will be pushed out here on demand. The sump will have an overflow to a drain.
I plan to be able to begin a water change by turning a tap, then turning it off a couple of hours later.

The central boxes will be surrounded by rocks that will form a mountain. The mountain will stick out a further 20 - 25cm from the water. The green box + tube in the return box is a small pump. It will push water up to the top of the rock mountains via 1 or more tubes, so that I can grow emmersed moss on the rocks. I plan to run a wire down the herbie emergency drain to power this pump. During maintenance I also plan to drop a gravel vacuum siphon hose down the emergency drain so that I can vacuum the tank without lifting a bucket.

The sump will contain my c02 reactor and chiller, so the main tank will be completely free of equipment, and viewable from 360 degrees, and from above. No decision yet on what plants or animals will grow in there, but there will be shrimp. Since the tank will also be viewed from above, the lighting will need to be suspended about 1 meter above the water, so I may need some powerful leds, without cooking my emmersed moss.

Thanks to anyone that read this far Please share any insights on what could go wrong , and flaws in my ideas. This creation is still at the thought bubble stage, but once I get a new (larger) place I would like to build something stunning. The priorities here are 1) looks (no visible equipment), and 2) ease of maintenance (never lift a bucket).


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Just realized that the 3d editing site doesn't allow detailed viewing without an account. Please refer to side view image of tank attached. My key concern is that I am not missing anything that might lead to overflow etc. Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:55 PM
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So two things I see, One, since I can't see it from the other side, do you have your return line with a couple elbows in it so it points down? I only ask because if you use a strong pump, to get the circulation you want, is there a chance that the water will be shooting above the water level?

Two, since you are pouring the water down into a sump and then back up you might end up with an issue with micro-bubbles. Of course this depends on the design of the sump but you might consider putting the return pipe in with a bubble trap. That would help keep any micro-bubbles out of the display area.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 01:04 AM
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Just looking at your drawing my concern are 1- where water return the pipe need to come out of your overflow box and into the display tank 2- I don't understand how your baffle work? does not your water will go down the overflow on 4 sides since it is in the middle of your tank? Unless I missing something big time
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 12:35 PM
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I worry that you can not have water right to the rim and a waterfall. Any ripples and you have water on the floor. You should also look into a bean animal overflow instead of a Herbie. Much safer and less finicky for you especially if you want the water close to the top.

Another issue is how far away your light source is. I also want to suspend my lights high above my tank. About 2 feet above the water surface and then I have a 2 foot deep tank. I want high light at substrate. I found out I need something like 15,000 lumens minimum to make that work. This placed me in the diy light territory. Still doable and I plan to proceed but you will want to consult with the gurus on the light subforum. I have no idea if moss can withstand the light you will be dishing out. It will depend I am sure on what you try to grow at substrate. You might be limiting yourself to only very low light plants at substrate to keep emersed moss alive at the top of your rock pile.

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