"5070g" South American biotope. Revised 4/6 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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"5070g" South American biotope. Revised 4/6

I had previously posted my plans to build a large indoor Amazon biotope pond. The plan was abandoned because as I researched further I realized it was cost prohibitive. I did not however abandon my dream of a monster tank for "diminutive" fish. I have been working very hard. Speaking with contractors, concrete people and searching the web for information. The result is a few hundred pages of information. Details such as cost of elec per KWH (.0818) have not been overlooked. I called the people that will be building my pumps and they calculated the cost of running my pumps per month. I have consulted with the contractor I will likely be using to build our house and been told this is a doable plan. Although I have worked very hard on this and put in countless hours the fact is I’m not a draftsman. This plan is detailed but not to scale. When construction begins I will be keeping an online journal with photos. So here it is:
First this is where the tank will sit in the house.
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Here you can see the new pump placement:
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This kind of a blow up of the tank area.
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Changes to pump placement and elec
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Tank design hard to follow but I understand it!
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Water is pumped by 2 x 3hp Money Saver pumps.
2x 4" PVC pipes will "lay" on the tank platform and the tank floor will be poured over them. The pipes will go through the foundation wall outside to the pump room.
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Lighting placement, only the back 3" of the tank is planted the rest is open swimming area and driftwood.
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Lighting is 5 x 1000w MH and 3 x 175w MH. 2 x 24" Lunar lights for night.
I don't want the lighting to be too even and artificial looking so the MH's are stagered.
[IMG][/IMG]

Cut-away view. I worked hard to try to scale this one better.


Plumbing (even harder to understand than the rest of my drawings)
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This cahanges a little now with the pumps placed outside but it's not worth posting.
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I find that the more detailed my diagrams the more I can find out where I need to make adjustments. I have discovered a lot of issues because of my diagrams. I'm sure I'll make more small adjustments but this is what I have so far. I also have a materials list and fuana & flora list but I know by experience that I can't post them the same way I do images, it just doesn't work. Fauna will consist of 7 P. Scalare, a 1000 or so tetras, 300 Marbled hatchetfish, 200 Otos, 50 Coral Red Pencilfish, 25 Panda Corys (easy to breed), a few Appistos and a few Twig cats. I'm also looking into Brazilian Yellow-Bellied Ghost shrimp. I think I can have a sustainable population. A light load for such a big tank.
The storage tank water will be warmed by a heat a exchanger attached to my boiler. The main tank will not be heated. The lighting and pumps will keep the tank heated, I'll just adjust the room tempurature to hold the tank at 80. The tank will be cooled by an air conditioner piped right in to the overhead enclosure. My cousin has his own heating and A/C sevice company and will do the work for me. Being in the basement will help keep the tank cooler in summer and warmer in winter. The storage tank will hold about 1000g of for water changes. That's close to 25%. My 5070g tank will likely have about 4000g of water in it after all substrate and wood are added. I'm planning on using Soilmaster Select charcoal for a substrate but I'm experimenting with substrates right now. Comments and sugestions?

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Last edited by Rhinoman; 04-07-2007 at 01:36 AM.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:16 AM
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Comments and sugestions?
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 05:29 AM
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Be realistic with the humidity problem such a large area % of water will provide. Large basement tanks and or fish rooms are known to wreck houses if not well planed.

Your pumps are on the same level as the tank so they will have "0" static head. I believe the 1900 gal triple door tank uses a single ~2hp with a ~30' rise.

Make sure you can comfortably reach every part of the tank. Including the 1' gap from the wall because if your prized fish jumps, even money on the hardest to reach spot.

Moved to Tucson.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 05:44 AM
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Wait till you hear then wherrrrrrrrrrrrrrr of those pumps.
Try keeping those quiet......muhhahahaaa!

Seriously, I'd suggest using light height, 30" instead of 36, it's a huge difference.
You are going to have to deal with this...........and it's not going to be easy either.

I know what is takes at these scales.......
When things go bad, it cost a lot to fix and takes large amounts of labor.

I'd use the 6x250 W MH's and 6x400 W, not the 1000's.

You can turn these on many more different ways than the 1000 + 175's.
I'd suggest E ballast for them also.

Iwaski pumps will much quieter, but you'll need several.
The other option is remote outside pumping housing for the large HP pumps.
We had separate filter room etc, it was too loud and could be heard all over let alone by the tank.

Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 05:48 AM
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I think you should consider partly planting with a forest of Echinodorus sp. When fully grown, they can be exceptionally tall and large. I think a tank like yours will be able to fully appreciate the size of these giants. The effect will also be naturalizing.

What tetras will you be considering? Won't 200 otos quickly run out of food?

Also, with such a large tank, have you given any thought to the really large, gorgeous Acanthancistrus sp.?

Instead of SMS, why not look into several hundred pounds of a natural coarse sand? It would look more natural than a grey or red substrate. Landscaping companies or gravel/sand companies might have exactly what I'm thinking of.

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Blue Ram,
Comment: "Be realistic with the humidity problem such a large area % of water will provide. Large basement tanks and or fish rooms are known to wreck houses if not well planed."
Response: "See design tank top is enclosed. Also I will run a dehumidifier in the room

Comment: "Your pumps are on the same level as the tank so they will have "0" static head. I believe the 1900 gal triple door tank uses a single ~2hp with a ~30' rise."
Response: This tank is twice that size. Money saver pumps are almost infinitely adjustable. I won't be running the pumps at full speed. Two pumps ensure reliability.

Comment: "Make sure you can comfortably reach every part of the tank. Including the 1' gap from the wall because if your prized fish jumps, even money on the hardest to reach spot."
Response: The tank top will be enclosed.

Plantbrain,
Comment: "Wait till you hear then wherrrrrrrrrrrrrrr of those pumps.
Try keeping those quiet......muhhahahaaa!"
Response: I didn't think the pumps would be THAT loud. I thought about it and there's no way to get the pumps outside. I'll have to a build large enclosure around the pumps to muffle the sound!

Comment: "Seriously, I'd suggest using light height, 30" instead of 36, it's a huge difference.
You are going to have to deal with this...........and it's not going to be easy either."
Response: Not sure what you mean here. The water height is 42". The lights will be about 18"- 24" (Adjustable) from the surface of the water.

Comment: "I'd use the 6x250 W MH's and 6x400 W, not the 1000's."
Response: I agree but it cost much more. My earlier designs consisted of more lower wattage lights. The initial cost are higher for 12 MH fixtures than 7. Every year I'd have to replace 12MH bulbs instead of 7. 7 lights are less complicated than 12.

Comment: "Iwaski pumps will much quieter, but you'll need several.
The other option is remote outside pumping housing for the large HP pumps.
We had separate filter room etc, it was too loud and could be heard all over let alone by the tank."
Response: The Money saver pumps are very energy efficient. Only having two pumps simplifies things.

Questions for Tom:
1)Have you ever dealt with Money Saver pumps? Know anything about them? I WISH I KNEW how loud those pumps will be.
2) Do you think I can get away with 5x400wMH and 3x175W MH., Remember I'm only planting the back 3' feet of the tank.
The Idea is the 1000wMH's will power the plants the 175w MH's will remain on all day and light the tank.


Mr Belvedere,
Comment: I think you should consider partly planting with a forest of Echinodorus sp. When fully grown, they can be exceptionally tall and large. I think a tank like yours will be able to fully appreciate the size of these giants. The effect will also be naturalizing.
Response: There will be some huge swords. 5' tall! Lots of driftwood. Only a few species of plants will be used.

Comment: Also, with such a large tank, have you given any thought to the really large, gorgeous Acanthancistrus sp.?
Response: Nope, large schools of small fish. The Angels (I already have) will be the largest fish in the tank.

Comment: Instead of SMS, why not look into several hundred pounds of a natural coarse sand? It would look more natural than a grey or red substrate. Landscaping companies or gravel/sand companies might have exactly what I'm thinking of.
Response: I have been researching South American biotopes. There is every type of substrate one can think of. Even in the Amazon substrates range from white sand to black soil. I'm going to use whatever I find most pleasing to the eye. Here's the dilemma the Tetras will be most comfortable in subdued light. The plants need light. I think a dark substrate will help offset the bright lighting?

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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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P.S. Always remember I have a modest budget. If I was wealthy I'd just hire someone (Tom?) to do this all for me.

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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:37 PM
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Is there some way to make a sky light over the tank and have it vent outside so that any humidity would go outside, instead of in the house? Kinda like a big atrium?
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:46 PM
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your enclosing the top???? with what and how do you expect to get in the tank if you need too?

your planning is sick and i compliment you...but all these guys have brought up some great points...especially about the pumps. regardless of the noise issue, zero static head is a bad starting point for a pump...basically unless you have substantial losses in the outlet piping from the pump volute to the discharge point, the pump will more than likely burn out quickly or caviatate then burn out. stating that a pump is adjustable is not an answer...you probably should nail down your specs a little and get the pump manufacturer involved in this. they will probably bend over backwards to help you.

All in all though...sweet idea and its definetly something i wish i could do in my house!!! i like the idea of the schooling fish...will look cool.

O yea...how the hell you gonna feed these fish? Going to buy stock in a fish food factory i assume...lol...


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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:48 PM
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i think the sadest part of this whole thread for me is...his quarantine tank is twice as big as my biggest tank....LMAO


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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:49 PM
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I would recommend a humidstat hooked up to a large exhaust fan and/or a dedicated air handler. The dehumidifier does not work well for large volumes of water due to the heat generated and electrical cost. I have about 650g of water in my fish-room and I had to go with a humidstat along with tying in my first floor zone (central air) to handle humidity issues in the summer. Check on reefcentral you can see what folks have done that have large amounts of water in their home.
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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 04:49 PM
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oh man! one day I will make something this massive. My check book better be the same size
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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 05:30 PM
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I'd go with less lighting since it's mainly planted in the rear.
Most of the plants will also be low light.
So you might consider 6 x 400w and 6 x175w, otherwise the tank will not get a decent light spread. It's not simpler nor is it cheaper than 4 or 5 x 1000w over time, nor does it have many color bulb options for the 1000w lights.

Wait till you hear those pumps............haha
You'll see.
Go to a public aquarium. See if they will let you listen in the back pump rooms to a pair of 2hp, or try seeing a pool that is using them.

They are hardly quiet and this stuff is going to be inside your home, it'll vibrate through the floor easily. They say energy efficient, but a few design changes and reductions can do a lot more there as well as make things much quieter.

42" depth is far more difficult to work with than 30", 36 is a real PITA, over that means you will be inside the tank often(your entire body).
See the behemoth and then think about you in there 3-4x longer.
Do not go cheap on lighting, you will pay for it later.
Same with CO2.

I'd go white silica sand 2-3mm, that looks nice against the plants and for the fish.

SMS is a PITA to plant plants in.
You can also use planter boxes with ADA aqua soil and cover the boxes with cork and anubias/ferns/driftwood etc.


Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 06:36 PM
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Wow....another gigantic tank in the making. This seems to be the new trend. Sadly, my wife and my budget won't allow me to even think about one. So I'll have to follow along and live vicariously through you guys.

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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-03-2007, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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tpl*co,
Comment: 'Is there some way to make a sky light over the tank and have it vent outside so that any humidity would go outside, instead of in the house? Kinda like a big atrium?
Reply: There will be a A/C directly into the tank since the tank top is enclosed humidity stays in the tank. I cannot discern any evaporation from my covered 180.

gmccreedy,
Comment: "your enclosing the top???? with what and how do you expect to get in the tank if you need too.'
Reply: The storage tank is 36" high. A wooden platform on top of it is my "working platform”. The rear wall of the top enclosure will have acrylic windows that open so that I may crawl into the tank to work on it. I suspect a pair of swimming goggles might come in handy.

Comment: "zero static head is a bad starting point for a pump"
Replay: I have spoken to the pump people. Not sure where you got the Idea there will be zero static head.

Comment: O yea...how the hell you gonna feed these fish? Going to buy stock in a fish food factory i assume...lol...
Repley: There are companies that sell fish sood in bulk 5# bags ect.

Plantbrain,
it is your opinion that matters the most as you have real experience with monster tanks.

Comment: So you might consider 6 x 400w and 6 x175w, otherwise the tank will not get a decent light spread. It's not simpler nor is it cheaper than 4 or 5 x 1000w over time, nor does it have many color bulb options for the 1000w lights.
Reply: Easy enough to do. Since you insist. I'm going to make the change.

Comment: Wait till you hear those pumps............haha
You'll see.
Go to a public aquarium. See if they will let you listen in the back pump rooms to a pair of 2hp, or try seeing a pool that is using them.
They are hardly quiet and this stuff is going to be inside your home, it'll vibrate through the floor easily. They say energy efficient, but a few design changes and reductions can do a lot more there as well as make things much quieter.
Reply: Wow this is not going to be easy to do but I believe you. I will move the pumps outside next to the stairs leading to the basement. I'll have to make major modifications for this.

Comment: 42" depth is far more difficult to work with than 30", 36 is a real PITA, over that means you will be inside the tank often(your entire body).
Reply: I figure I'll be IN the tank a lot.

Comment: I'd go white silica sand 2-3mm, that looks nice against the plants and for the fish.
SMS is a PITA to plant plants in.
Reply: A lot of the underwater photos of tetra & Angelfish habitat show white sand as the substrate. Everything you read on Tetras recommend a "dark substrate". Do you think a light colored substrate will be an issue with Tetras

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