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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some of you might be familiar with my previous project, the aquarium coffee table. It proved to be too problematic and costly a tank to turn into a decent planted tank, so I think the time might be right for me to sell it and buy a much larger, conventional tank.

I'm aiming for a 180x60x70cm (72"x24"x30") tank (LxDxH), which due to the size will be best made in acrylic I reckon.

The project time scale is 4-6 months, and any advice, criticism (constructive of course :) and encouragement is appreciated.

I really dislike the sight of pipework and heaters going into the tank, and whilst those pretty, glass ADA lily pipes do look very nice it seems that the best solution for any aquarium is an overflow/weir setup going to a sump?

I looked at the price of aquarium cabinets, and for the size of tank I'm looking at, an MDF cabinet will cost upwards of £500 so I figured a good quality piece of furniture could be purchased for that much and would also be more wife friendly.

A search for a good platform has been a quest in itself, and after seeing this:


I thought I'd found a good candidate. But alas the internal members were most certainly not going to support 810kg (1785lbs) of weight!

So my search continued and I stumbled (very nearly!) into this, a teak root table. And the manufacturer was willing to sell the roots separately:


In keeping with a nature aquarium I figured what better support than a tree root and considering its weight and heft, I figured that a few of these might be able to support so much weight. Of course, when dealing with aquarium support 'might' is not acceptable in any shape or form so I'll likely have to brace the supports with a discreet and sturdy metal framework. This will have to be custom made.

For light fittings, I have searched far and wide and boy is there a lot of ugly (and overpriced) stuff out there. One would think that a good quality MH or T5 light fitting wouldn't be *that* much more expensive than a quality bathroom or shop light, but it really feels like the manufacturers of aquarium lighting are price gouging just a teensy bit…*rant over*

My candidates are:

1. Giesemann Infiniti
2. ADA Grand Solar
3. ATI Powermodule
4. LED lighting

It appears that the best lighting available at the moment is a combination T5/MH lamp which provides both light variation (by switching on the MH and T5 circuits using timers) and intensity. In addition using MH seems to be the only way to get that 'shimmer' effect which you see with marine setups.

There is however a new kid on the block; LED lighting but the technology is changing so fast and there are so many new models that I can't figure out if it's even comparable to MH. Is it good enough to light a 30" deep planted tank? Can I use just LED lighting?

For filtration I have a Fluval FX5 and Eheim 2078 on my existing tank, but since I'll be moving to a sump I can ditch these I hope?

UV will be provided by a Vecton 600 and Aqua Medic Helix Max 55W, which in series I hope should be good enough for the tank?

As for the livestock I'd ideally like Altum angels in this new tank (hence the extra depth - otherwise I'd have gone for a 24" tank). So I guess the current in the tank can't be too strong?

Once again, any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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My plans are to do a similar tank, but instead of a weir and sump, I thought I'd build an internal sump. - Basically use the rear 3-4" of the tank, thus add in an extra black glass/acrylic panel the length of the tank, add a number of baffles to push the water up and down through the length of each vertical channel created, and then have an overflow or inlet/outlet at opposite ends, or maybe a spray bar along the length of the bottom edge at the rear. I thought that'd be much easier, safer, and quieter than a sump. That would be much easier as well for a submersed pump to not having to lift the water several feet, and sumps really can be notoriously noisy. You could then fill the vertical channels with foam/alfagrog/lava rock/etc and would have quite a massive biofiltration capacity.
 

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I use LED's and have no doubt they could push out more than enough light for a 30" deep tank. If I turn my fixture all the way up it puts out 240+ par in the corner of a 24"wide 24" deep tank.
LED's also produce the same shimmer as MH as they are point light sources like MH is. Also if electricity is expensive where you live LED's will make a noticeable difference, for me they can put out the same par as a MH using about half the electricity.
Shimmer wise here is a test video of my LED's when I had them over a reef, same look as MH

I'm using a vertex LED fixture and have red LED's on the way, they just plug into the existing fixture and can be controlled on their own color channel. The sunrise/sunset effect in addition to being able to control the light from my PC really sold me on it.
AI led fixtures may be cheaper as they are modular but lack the ability to add red led's.

If you can setup a sump you won't regret it, especially on a larger tank. Get some filter socks to filter out the fines and some bio balls in a sealed trickle chamber to reduce CO2 gass off or other low maintenance bio media.
Sumps are silent if you run a beananimal type drain setup (3 drains: 2 that are working and 1 emergency), easier to clean, allow you to hide all the equipment and add more water volume to the system.

As for the overflow it's self, if you decide to go acrylic then external overflows become an option(make sure to get a colored(black) back panel to avoid my mistake). Basically the back of the tank is notched down and inch and a half and a box is built onto the back of it for the plumbing to attach to. End result is no visible plumbing and no in tank space taken up.
Also an acrylic tank will be much lighter than glass at that size, ~340lbs vs ~500 for glass at that size.

Here's a picture of my tank before the background was painted black. you can see the overflow built on and the notched tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you can afford it, LED would be awesome. Something like the ecotech radion with RGB for color control! You also have custom dimming to simulate sunrise/sunset.
Whoah, thanks for the tip, that light fitting looks fantastic.

In looking for reviews on the Radion I found the Aqua Illuminations Sol:
http://aquaillumination.com/sol/

Any idea how it compares?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My plans are to do a similar tank, but instead of a weir and sump, I thought I'd build an internal sump. - Basically use the rear 3-4" of the tank, thus add in an extra black glass/acrylic panel the length of the tank, add a number of baffles to push the water up and down through the length of each vertical channel created, and then have an overflow or inlet/outlet at opposite ends, or maybe a spray bar along the length of the bottom edge at the rear. I thought that'd be much easier, safer, and quieter than a sump. That would be much easier as well for a submersed pump to not having to lift the water several feet, and sumps really can be notoriously noisy. You could then fill the vertical channels with foam/alfagrog/lava rock/etc and would have quite a massive biofiltration capacity.
Interesting idea, although I'm keen to avoid a weir or compartments within the main tank itself due to the muck they accumulate with time and also that you often end up planting to hide them rather than planting what looks good.

I do like your idea of a spray bar along the entire length of the tank. I can imagine this being a great solution for very large tanks embedded in the wall or where the back is completely hidden. I'd love to try something like that someday but for now this project is going to be fully viewable on three sides and visible from the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm using a vertex LED fixture and have red LED's on the way, they just plug into the existing fixture and can be controlled on their own color channel.
Hi nick, great tank you have going in your thread. The Vertex looks a great unit and it's easier to source in the UK. I was wondering though how loud are the fans on it?

Also any down sides with it?

Sumps are silent if you run a beananimal type drain setup (3 drains: 2 that are working and 1 emergency), easier to clean, allow you to hide all the equipment and add more water volume to the system.
Thanks for the tip, beananimal's site is a fantastic resource. I'm surprised I hadn't stumbled on it before, I think I might just utilize his system of overflows.

Do you have any pics of your sump?

Also why does the background need to be painted black?

Can't the sump simply stay transparent and blend in more with the tank?

Thanks for all the good advice!
 

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I'm subscribed, too!
This is all way over my head, but I have to say; I love how the English still say "whilst"! (that's why I watch BBC - lol)
I had the great pleasure of living in Bristol, England from 1979 - 1981, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat...
 

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Hi nick, great tank you have going in your thread. The Vertex looks a great unit and it's easier to source in the UK. I was wondering though how loud are the fans on it?

Also any down sides with it?



Thanks for the tip, beananimal's site is a fantastic resource. I'm surprised I hadn't stumbled on it before, I think I might just utilize his system of overflows.

Do you have any pics of your sump?

Also why does the background need to be painted black?

Can't the sump simply stay transparent and blend in more with the tank?

Thanks for all the good advice!
The fans on the vertex are very quiet, 12 or 14db I think. They are thermal sensitive and you can set the fixture to turn them on automatically, have them on all the time or force them to be off all the time.
Only down side is that it's expensive and you have to order the wireless pc interface separate, about $40 i think.

Im having a new sump built, should have it in a week or so, will be updating my build once i get it in and setup.

For me I wanted to hide the plumbing, with a transparent background you can see it all.
 

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I think black backgrounds definitely always look the best, and I'm not keen on the site of any equipment personally.

Did you consider looking into any 3D backgrounds though? http://www.aquariums.ltd.uk/Accessory List by Product.asp?ProdGrp=37
They have some interesting 3D backgrounds, (unless you wanted to order a really nice one from the US), and that way you shouldn't have to worry quite as much about cleaning the rear wall as a little bit of algae on a 3D background would be much less noticeable than on a glass rear pane. Some people like them, but some don't, but unless you were able to walk around to the back side of the tank just reaching the back pane to clean it might be quite difficult.

I'm looking at doing a similar tank and putting a shoal of discus in, though not those gaudy coloured varieties that are predominant now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think black backgrounds definitely always look the best, and I'm not keen on the site of any equipment personally.
Likewise, I do think a good black background looks good, but I think given the beauty of a planted scape it should be appreciated from as many sides as possible. If I ever do pull the tank away from the wall or use it as a room divider I'd like to be able to see it from both sides.

I think that considering how long the tank is going to take to get built that I ought to get some practice in with something smaller. :red_mouth
 
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