The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The success of my Mini-M project encouraged me to setup an old 180 G that had been sitting unused in my garage for well over a year. I decided from the start to scrap most of the existing equipment and start fresh. The DIY sump worked well but I wanted something a bit cleaner. I designed a wet dry sump for the tank and had several local aquarium shops and acrylic guys give me a quote. The feedback was shocking: prices ranged from $500-$800 for just the sump alone. After more research I bought a pair of Red Sea Ocean Clear 320 canister filters. I returned these in favor of the similar, but far superior Nu-Clear 530 Canister filters instead. These were significantly less expensive than the sump, modular, and completely sealed in case I decide to add CO2 down the road. Months ago I wrote this thread about the two.

The original plumbing was all scrapped; I dislike vinyl tubing for tank plumbing due to flow restrictions of spigot fittings and significantly decreased flexibility over time (when constantly exposed to water). Hard 1” PVC was used with SCH80 true flow valves and unions. The valves can be shut off to allow complete removal of the canister and/or pump if needed without having to drain the overflow.

I over-engineered each side of the tank to be completely independent of the other. Each overflow has a separate power strip, heater, temp controller, pump, and canister. In the event of any component failure, the other side can maintain tank temperature and still provide adequate flow and filtration for the tank. After 5 days of testing there was no variance in temperature or water parameters.





I ditched the Quiet One 4000 pumps that were previously used in favor of an external, higher flow pumps. I settled on a pair of BlueLine 30 HD-X pumps when Champion lighting was running a screaming deal. Heating is still performed by dual 200W Jager glass heaters, but each is controlled by a Ranco ETH 111000 temp controller, each wired into a separate GFCI. The heaters are located in the overflows which keeps them out of view and also submerged when I’m doing a water change. Ranco suggests that the probe can degrade/fail if submersed in water; rather than use heat shrink tubing, silicone, or some other method of waterproofing the probe, I set the probes in SS thermowells. The thermowells are plumbed below the stand to keep them dry and out of site. This has been employed on both of my tanks and will continue to be used in other setups.




The Durso overflows and returns were also rebuilt using black PVC/ABS and shortened to help squeeze these into the corner overflows. They are nearly invisible against the overflow boxes.





The light is a custom 72” BML XB fixture in the “Orchid Spectrum” (similar to the Riparium 6000K but with additional red 660nm LEDs for a warmer color) with a manual dimmer. I ditched their suspension kit however and used a Sunlight Supply Tek suspension mount. These are my favorite suspension mounts; the cable length can be adjusted on the fly without tools and they are surprisingly beefy. To use these mounts with the BML light I created some mounting tabs out of 1/8 aluminum plate.





I used ~400 lbs of quartz river stones as it is one of the few inert rocks local to this area (most rock is limestone, shale, and other unsuitable varieties). The main stone weighs just over 80 lbs by itself. Tom Barr sent me a huge pile of Manzanita for the scape. 300 pounds of pool filter sand was added for the substrate.



I wanted something unusual for the stock; after several intentional and unintentional changes-

4 Metynnis fasciatus (F0 Rio Capim)
6 Myleus schomburgkii Thin Bar (F0 Brazil)
3 Myleus schomburgkii Wide Bar (F0 Peru)
2 Metynnis lippincottianus
L190 Royal Pleco (F0 Brazil)
7 Corydoras sterbai

This tank will be temporary as I am expecting some large growth out of some of these fish. Their eventual home will be an 8ft acrylic.

Plants are a problem - these fish readily consume just about anything that grows. Java Fern, Bolbitus, and some crypts have survived; Anubias and most other plants have become a delicious (and expensive) snack for these guys. After review with Hydrophyte from Riprarium Supply, I decided to try a riparium setup on the tank. He hooked me up with a lot of knowledge and all of the planters/gravel needed. After some experimentation on my own, the following are currently growing:

Asclepias curassavica
Chamaedorea cataractarum
Colocasia fallax
Eriocaulon compressum
Hydrocotyle verticillata
Iris pseudacorus
Limnophila Rugosa – This has proven to be a fantastic submersed, emersed, and riparium species.
Ludwigia ‘Atlantis’
Pandanus amaryllifolius
Pandanus pygmaeus
Pilea spuceana
Philodendron Scandens Micans
Philodendron ‘Red Sunburst’ hybrid
Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie' Mini Bluebell
Saururus cernua
Schismatoglottis sp ‘Long Huriel’
Spathiphyllum sp.
Hygrophila variegated
Zephyranthes grandiflora




More pictures of the scape and stock coming once the fish wake up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,750 Posts
Wow, this is a cool setup. You put together some nice equipment. Cool fish too!

How are those plants doing? Are they establishing well?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Most of the plants are doing well; some are still struggling to become established. The Asclepias curassavica has mostly died off.

I am waiting for a large shipment of Crypts and Anubias, as well as additional Manzanita and a large group of Bromeliad & Tillandsia sp. I am not completely done with the scape yet, but you get the idea.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update: I wanted something that would grow well on the driftwood coming out of the tank; I picked up some Tillandsia varieties to try. Hoping to get some color out of some of these once they are under some higher light. 16 different sp and an unpictured Neoregelia 'Fireball'.

Here is a very poor quality picture from my cell. I will get better pics in a few days.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,609 Posts
A few things:

Try emergent penny wort. Works well along the back edge.
Moss(Xmas etc) on the emergent wood= planting sediment)
Ken's algae wafers and sticks, they will gnaw of those for awhile and will prefer them over time.

I use the wafers which last longer than the sticks for flag tailed Prochilodus.
They leave the plants alone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
hi mb,

i have been using a ranco controller for about 5ish years. i have the probe submersed in my sump, unaware there was any issue in doing so. yours are the first comments i've read re the potential probe issue

could you show a pic of your 'ss thermowell?' a faulty controller is not what i was looking for, lol!

thanks,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,609 Posts
Romaine hearts are also good.

Keep those NuClear filters clean, the pressure will build and the flow rates drop quite a bit. Tank would likely have been better to use a wet/dry and then have the nuclear's for the return post filter. I have a tank for a client like this. So you could keep 1 of the existing Nu Clear's as is, then add a sump and use the intake for the return from the pump, then to the nu Clear, then to the tank. This should provide about 1-2 ppm more O2 and a more stable O2.

Better for the fish, which seems to be the 1st priority.

You'd still get excellent filtering, but also massive bio and excellent O2.

Adding some current could also help and a be an easier way to do this, a used Vortech MP40 etc. Lazy fish need to swim against some current, they behave better and eat better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Man, I love silver dollars, this tank is going to be fun as it grows up!
It is a lot of fun; these fish all have a personality. They are pretty derpy.

i have been using a ranco controller for about 5ish years. i have the probe submersed in my sump, unaware there was any issue in doing so. yours are the first comments i've read re the potential probe issue

could you show a pic of your 'ss thermowell?' a faulty controller is not what i was looking for, lol!
If you still have the Ranco manual, it lists the probe as not submersible (the similar Johnson Controls 419) . I have a few extra SS thermowells at home....I'll take a pic of one tonight as well as a close up of how it is plumbed in the tank.

Romaine hearts are also good.

Keep those NuClear filters clean, the pressure will build and the flow rates drop quite a bit. Tank would likely have been better to use a wet/dry and then have the nuclear's for the return post filter. I have a tank for a client like this. So you could keep 1 of the existing Nu Clear's as is, then add a sump and use the intake for the return from the pump, then to the nu Clear, then to the tank. This should provide about 1-2 ppm more O2 and a more stable O2.

Better for the fish, which seems to be the 1st priority.

You'd still get excellent filtering, but also massive bio and excellent O2.

Adding some current could also help and a be an easier way to do this, a used Vortech MP40 etc. Lazy fish need to swim against some current, they behave better and eat better.
Tom,

Thanks for the suggestions. I've been eying a Vortech powerhead for a while; I think it may on the upcoming list of purchases.

I had originally wanted the wet/dry option, but wanted something more custom than I could make or buy pre-made. I added Ocean Clear polystrand pads in each canister to help increase bio-capacity in the cansiters, but have considered adding another stage/sump inline for additional bio-capacity. The canister option seemed ideal for CO2 injection as I watched Ruko battle high CO2 loss/CO2 dissolution swings due to his wet/dry sump. Still debating on the CO2 route.

Romaine lettuce is very popular with the Tigers in the tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
mb, thanks for the pic! will do some shopping as i was totally unaware of this potential problem. i'm a big fan of the ranco (old school here, that's the only controller i use) and run it for 2 elements to heat a 265g/90 sump.

build looks great!

thanks,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,818 Posts
Really cool.

I second Tom's comments; I tried do a closed loop with all the bells and whistles - the amount of plumbing required, unions, all the modules you need for heater/chemical media, etc. makes it a PITA. Sump is much easier and can filter your water down to 1 micron if you desire [using filter socks].
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
wanted to say from first post "I dig your build!"
Nice stocking,and seems to be going great!
I'm following!
Many thanks! It's always a journey.

Really cool.

I second Tom's comments; I tried do a closed loop with all the bells and whistles - the amount of plumbing required, unions, all the modules you need for heater/chemical media, etc. makes it a PITA. Sump is much easier and can filter your water down to 1 micron if you desire [using filter socks].
I have been somewhat quiet about some of the annoyances I've encountered with the closed loop system on a drilled tank. The biggest problems I have experienced are an inconsistent water level in the tank, and air being introduced into the system. I am very much leaning towards adding a small w/d sump to the system like Tom had recommended.

More crypts are on the way; hoping to get some updated pics of progress this weekend.
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top