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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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My Dream Tank

The third anniversary of my 250gal plywood tank is coming up, and I hope it will last for at least another 3 years, but it is never too early to plan the next big thing.

In a few years, when I am old, bored and rich (in order of diminishing likeliness) I will sell my current home and move into another one. That will mean taking down that aforementioned tank, a large undertaking after which I am going to be fed up and tank-less for some unknown time. Once recovered, I am going to build the "next big thing".

Here are some ideas that are floating through my brain at the moment. It will be a large tank (of course), with energy efficiency being one huge factor.

Size
96x30x28 tall (350 gal). The height and depth are the limits of what I can comfortably handle without snorkel. The length is a sheet of plywood, why cut it shorter?

Material
Plywood is cheap and a great insulator. I don't want to have to heat or cool this tank - with 65-70F room temperature it should stay around 75-78F considering heat from lights and pumps. The plywood would be covered with some marine epoxy (West System?) and AE Sweetwater epoxy paint on top of that. I might re-use the Starphire glass panel from my current 250gal tank. When centered, that will leave some hidden tank space to the left and right.

Filtration
Instead of canister filters or sumps, I am going for security, simplicity and efficiency. Water pumps on the left and right (hidden) corners will pull the water through filter sponges that are attached to some Sched40 manifolding. Sponges provide huge capacity for mechanical and bio filtration and are relatively easy to pull out and squeeze for cleaning.

Plumbing
No holes in the plywood construction except for an overflow. Any cables, tubes and hoses will go over the rim. Continuous water change with passive overflow for stable conditions. Waste water will be collected and used to grow huge Tomatoes.

Lights
Solar tubes will provide the main source of illumination. Adjustable light sensors will activate a) some sort of shades when there is too much light, and b) LED lights when the level falls under some threshold. LEDs will illuminate the tank in the evenings, and they will be mounted on skinny aluminum extrusions installed on drawer slides to push them back for tank maintenance.

Dosing
Graduated glass bottles will be filled with individual macro nutrients (salts) and water. As the salts dissolve, the concentrated solution will slowly be mixed into tank water. The size of the bottle opening/orifice can be adjusted for slower or faster diffusion. (Still needs to be figured out/tested). Concentrated micros will be dosed via a peristaltic pump. CO2 injection... well of course.

Substrate
MTS topped with some peat topped with my existing mix of Flourite and Kitty Litter.

Other
Planning to use the room above the tank for Riparium/Paludarium sort of setup. Sliding glass panes in front will keep humidity inside the setup. Plants in aquarium back and on wood will grow out of the tank for some seamless water/land impression.

All just ideas at the moment. Let me know if any of them sound really silly.


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:00 PM
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Sound great!

I really like the solar light tubes idea. I've seen it done on Youtube with a Reef Tank

BUT, this caught my eye:

"Plumbing No holes in the plywood construction except for an overflow. Any cables, tubes and hoses will go over the rim. Continuous water change with passive overflow for stable conditions. Waste water will be collected and used to grow huge Tomatoes."

You could go very GREEN with this tank since you are in Ca. and have relatively stable weather year round.

Would your floor plan location allow plumbing and space for an Outdoor Aquaponic system that could feed off your 350 Indoor tank???

Depending on how you set up the Hydroponic tables outside you would be able to have a ridiculously larger filter systems, a reservoir that you could do water changes with. Do something like gravity feed to the tables outside, then gravity feed to a reservoir/sump. Then pump back into the house to the tank inlet from above. If you run the intake to a manifold above the tank you could run spray bars and nozzle heads.

If your reservoir/sump is in ground the water will stay cool due the the earth.

Aquaponics is new infatuation for me. I stated with a DWB Hydroponic Cherry tomato. The more I research the more interested in Aquaponics I am getting. This is were I'm heading:

Phase one (basement)will be 4-20ls that I have that are drilled already, they will feed into /out of a 40B . I'm starting with fancy goldfish, due to cold water, lots of waste and I just like them.

Phase two (outside) Will be a pond that will filter through a raised bed wall that will offer particle shade to the pond in pick summer heat. So duel purpose. The sea there will be a wall of Kale spinach early season, Tomatoes, Hot peppers, squash, summer, Melons harvest in fall.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:39 PM
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The only thing that's missing is a solar panel or two that would generate the power necessary to operate the tank!


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:45 PM
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So your going to start a journal on this new tank what next week? these plywood tanks fascinate me something fierce!

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Would your floor plan location allow plumbing and space for an Outdoor Aquaponic system that could feed off your 350 Indoor tank???
No idea, it's all just grey theory at the moment. But using the waste water outdoors is definitely part of the whole setup. I do that right now with my 250 as well, it's just a bit more cumbersome than I'd like it to be.

I would not recycle the water back to the tank. While possible on Arrakis, it's better to start fresh here on earth. With some intelligent dosing we are not talking 50% water changes... more like 2% a day or so. Much less than a teen would waste showering.

Your setup sounds good. To me, there is just no comparison between my own sun-ripened garden tomato and that tasteless hydroponic stuff that is harvested green and then sold at your fave supermarket.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
The only thing that's missing is a solar panel or two that would generate the power necessary to operate the tank!
Nope, those will be on the roof, but not just for the tank...


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
....

I would not recycle the water back to the tank. While possible on Arrakis, it's better to start fresh here on earth. With some intelligent dosing we are not talking 50% water changes... more like 2% a day or so. Much less than a teen would waste showering.

Your setup sounds good. To me, there is just no comparison between my own sun-ripened garden tomato and that tasteless hydroponic stuff that is harvested green and then sold at your fave supermarket.
Recycling 2gl a day for your 350 and 250gl tanks is like 4200gl a year.

Everything we grow at home tastes better...
No store can match vine picked/fresh served, no matter how the farmer raises it.

Two things attract me to Aquaponcs. First the blending of two hobbies of mine. Second, the amazing smart filtration systems you get. Your only water concern is topping off evaporation.

Just some thoughts about your system. One of my mentors in breeding fish had a 300 plywood tank. The glass was from a old store. He build it back in the 70's. I was just amazed by that tank.
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