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I've had a 8' x 3' x 2' acrylic tank sitting in my garage since June and its killing me! The reason its not set up yet, is I have to do some construction on the house to get it all set up for the in-wall build. The timing just hasn't been right. I've found some time to work on finalizing my plans to hopefully start working on the filtration room. I wanted to get it on paper and available for critiquing so I can dial it in the best I can the first time around. A large part of this build is based on my trials and tribulations from a 420 gallon build I did about 6 years ago. I learned alot through that process and am hoping to carry over my successes and avoid the failures best I can.


Starting with the tank, here is the flow of the design
- I plan to drill the main tank on the end closest to the filtration room. I'm not 100% sure yet on the method I want to use, but either an overflow box with a weir or maybe the bean animal style. Not sure yet, but I welcome suggestions. My last tank I used durso standing pipes which worked flawlessly and may be the way I go if another better option doesn't present itself.
- Water goes from the overflow into a 55 gallon sump that begins with a filter floss tray. Any suggestion here? My plan is to just create a tray and shove it full of filter floss. I've used socks in the past and I just loath washing those things.
- Second compartment in the sump is a grow out / refugium. This is also where the heaters will be.
- Next the water drains via gravity into a 55 gallon drum running a fluidized bed. I am going to attempt to fluidize using the pressure from the water entering the tank, but I may be adding air stones in order to get the proper movement.
- Do you think this is enough sump? With both 55 gallon tanks, the actual water volume will most likely be closer to 80 gallons. I used a similar set up on my other tank and it seemed to work fine, but I would rather over do than under do if you know what I mean. I've thought hard about replacing the 55 with a 75, but I already have the 55.
- I have a reeflo dart that will then pump the water back to the opposite side of the tank. Do I need to go all the way to the other side of the tank or can I pump it back in from the same side as the overflow with wavemakers placed strategically around the tank to keep things from getting stagnant.

- You will also see in the picture that I have a RO Water Holding tank. My plan here is to do an automatic water changing system using RO water. RO water will fill the holding tank where I will have an autodoser set up to remineralize. The water will either continuously drip into the sump where I have an overflow drain set up, or I will use a timer to do regular changes daily. Has anyone set something up like this? I would be very interested to pick your brain or read another post about how it was done.

The second picture is a rough layout of what this will look like from above. The tank will sit in the "back room" with a viewing panel through the wall into the living room. The right side of the tank will rest up against the wall where the filtration room is located. I designed this house around this setup so all the necessary headers and such are already installed.

Please feel free to critique/give advice in any of the areas you see I might could use it. I've been keeping tanks successfully for over 15 years, but I'm always looking to find a better way and always welcome constructive feedback.

Happy New Year!
 

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I've had a 8' x 3' x 2' acrylic tank sitting in my garage since June and its killing me! The reason its not set up yet, is I have to do some construction on the house to get it all set up for the in-wall build. The timing just hasn't been right. I've found some time to work on finalizing my plans to hopefully start working on the filtration room. I wanted to get it on paper and available for critiquing so I can dial it in the best I can the first time around. A large part of this build is based on my trials and tribulations from a 420 gallon build I did about 6 years ago. I learned alot through that process and am hoping to carry over my successes and avoid the failures best I can.


Starting with the tank, here is the flow of the design
- I plan to drill the main tank on the end closest to the filtration room. I'm not 100% sure yet on the method I want to use, but either an overflow box with a weir or maybe the bean animal style. Not sure yet, but I welcome suggestions. My last tank I used durso standing pipes which worked flawlessly and may be the way I go if another better option doesn't present itself.
- Water goes from the overflow into a 55 gallon sump that begins with a filter floss tray. Any suggestion here? My plan is to just create a tray and shove it full of filter floss. I've used socks in the past and I just loath washing those things.
- Second compartment in the sump is a grow out / refugium. This is also where the heaters will be.
- Next the water drains via gravity into a 55 gallon drum running a fluidized bed. I am going to attempt to fluidize using the pressure from the water entering the tank, but I may be adding air stones in order to get the proper movement.
- Do you think this is enough sump? With both 55 gallon tanks, the actual water volume will most likely be closer to 80 gallons. I used a similar set up on my other tank and it seemed to work fine, but I would rather over do than under do if you know what I mean. I've thought hard about replacing the 55 with a 75, but I already have the 55.
- I have a reeflo dart that will then pump the water back to the opposite side of the tank. Do I need to go all the way to the other side of the tank or can I pump it back in from the same side as the overflow with wavemakers placed strategically around the tank to keep things from getting stagnant.

- You will also see in the picture that I have a RO Water Holding tank. My plan here is to do an automatic water changing system using RO water. RO water will fill the holding tank where I will have an autodoser set up to remineralize. The water will either continuously drip into the sump where I have an overflow drain set up, or I will use a timer to do regular changes daily. Has anyone set something up like this? I would be very interested to pick your brain or read another post about how it was done.

The second picture is a rough layout of what this will look like from above. The tank will sit in the "back room" with a viewing panel through the wall into the living room. The right side of the tank will rest up against the wall where the filtration room is located. I designed this house around this setup so all the necessary headers and such are already installed.

Please feel free to critique/give advice in any of the areas you see I might could use it. I've been keeping tanks successfully for over 15 years, but I'm always looking to find a better way and always welcome constructive feedback.

Happy New Year!


360 gallons, nice!

I will offer my 2 cents but I will admit upfront my knowledge is all theoretical since while I've planned for a 120 gallon tank with sump, I never actually implemented it. My plan for my sump was to make use of a semi-static k1 micro bed. The media naturally floats so my plan was to run all my water through a large static bed of k1 micro and use this as 100% of my mechanical and biological filtration. Then use essentially an overflow extending out into the middle of the tank and durso pipes in my sump to collect the moving water from the chamber with the k1 to the area with the return pump. When I wanted to clean the k1 micro bed and do a water change I would turn on a pump in the k1 micro bed area turning the static bed into a fluidized bed. This would shake off any debris and 'refresh' the bacteria growing on the media, then pump the waste water out of the sump and into a drain. Refill with clean water and repeat as many times as needed till the media was clean.

This is the simplest type of design which appeals to me and from report, a static bed does a very good job at mechanical filtration. Using this you could skip any other mechanical filtration, filter floss, etc. You would also get rid of the 55 gallon drum which would be WAY too much filtration for this tank anyway. If your tank were 10 times the size it would still be too much k1. Remember k1 was designed for ponds and their calculator to determine how much you need is based on how many pounds of fish you have. Likely you will have less then 2 lbs of fish in this tank when all is said and done.

Most people learned about k1 in aquariums by watching Joey on youtube as King of DIY, if that is where you learned about it then keep in mind Joey (admittedly) over filters his tanks. I remember in one episode he admitted he took whatever recommendations there were for filtration and multipled it by 5. Then he used a drum similar to what you are talking about for a tank with a water volume more then double of this tank and with fish that are bigger then what you will likely have. The thing is, overfiltering is not really a good thing. George Farmer did an interview with the guys that make k1 and they were saying you really do not want more of the media in a fluidized system then you actually need. That the more you put in the thinner the coat of bacteria that grows on it which in turn makes them less efficient. They showed off what they said were ideally coated media and they look very different from the media in joey's filters soo yeah, don't go overboard on the k1.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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I had great luck with a Herbie style drain, it was effortless and silent in operation. But... it was only a 75 gallon tank. From what I've read a Bean Animal might work better with a larger tank and higher flow rates.

I wouldn't do a durso. I've never set one up but it just looks like it could fail. The open emergency drain is really nice. Mine actually kicked in once. I hadn't put the strainer on the siphon drain and a fish got into the siphon tube and then got stuck in the gate valve! I work at home so I was there. You can't miss the sound when the emergency drain kicks. Saved the fish also! (He lived in the sump afterwards, getting him out was impossible.)

You can buy 2 foot diameter rolls of filter floss cheaply. I used that, cut into 1 foot squares as the top layer in my sump. I had other layers of fine and coarse rigid foam (by Dr Foster Smith I think) and Seachem Maxtrix. You can see this setup at
except I didn't have the floss in place. In that video I used some eheim baskets since I just put about 30 cichlids in the tank and wanted a painless cycle so I took the basket from my 75G. So I had a 9 gallon inner sump (which was free) inside a 30 gallon long, which was also free. Would a 55 be enough? Hard to say but it should sounds good to me.

I've always had the filter entrance and exits on opposites sides of the tank but my wife has clued me into the trend of putting them on the same side, which I guess help eliminate dead spots. I plan on doing that this weekend when I redo my 75G.
 

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I had great luck with a Herbie style drain, it was effortless and silent in operation. But... it was only a 75 gallon tank. From what I've read a Bean Animal might work better with a larger tank and higher flow rates.

I wouldn't do a durso. I've never set one up but it just looks like it could fail. The open emergency drain is really nice. Mine actually kicked in once. I hadn't put the strainer on the siphon drain and a fish got into the siphon tube and then got stuck in the gate valve! I work at home so I was there. You can't miss the sound when the emergency drain kicks. Saved the fish also! (He lived in the sump afterwards, getting him out was impossible.)

You can buy 2 foot diameter rolls of filter floss cheaply. I used that, cut into 1 foot squares as the top layer in my sump. I had other layers of fine and coarse rigid foam (by Dr Foster Smith I think) and Seachem Maxtrix. You can see this setup at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdrS-YYkqAY except I didn't have the floss in place. In that video I used some eheim baskets since I just put about 30 cichlids in the tank and wanted a painless cycle so I took the basket from my 75G. So I had a 9 gallon inner sump (which was free) inside a 30 gallon long, which was also free. Would a 55 be enough? Hard to say but it should sounds good to me.

I've always had the filter entrance and exits on opposites sides of the tank but my wife has clued me into the trend of putting them on the same side, which I guess help eliminate dead spots. I plan on doing that this weekend when I redo my 75G.
Very cool set up. Thank you. I would be interested in finding out more about your last sentence. Where did you read that putting the input and output on the same side eliminates dead spots? I would prefer to do it this way, but thought it would create dead spots.

The durso set up I had worked flawlessly. I just don't have any experience with the other types, but I'm sure there is a better way.

Bump:
360 gallons, nice!

I will offer my 2 cents but I will admit upfront my knowledge is all theoretical since while I've planned for a 120 gallon tank with sump, I never actually implemented it. My plan for my sump was to make use of a semi-static k1 micro bed. The media naturally floats so my plan was to run all my water through a large static bed of k1 micro and use this as 100% of my mechanical and biological filtration. Then use essentially an overflow extending out into the middle of the tank and durso pipes in my sump to collect the moving water from the chamber with the k1 to the area with the return pump. When I wanted to clean the k1 micro bed and do a water change I would turn on a pump in the k1 micro bed area turning the static bed into a fluidized bed. This would shake off any debris and 'refresh' the bacteria growing on the media, then pump the waste water out of the sump and into a drain. Refill with clean water and repeat as many times as needed till the media was clean.

This is the simplest type of design which appeals to me and from report, a static bed does a very good job at mechanical filtration. Using this you could skip any other mechanical filtration, filter floss, etc. You would also get rid of the 55 gallon drum which would be WAY too much filtration for this tank anyway. If your tank were 10 times the size it would still be too much k1. Remember k1 was designed for ponds and their calculator to determine how much you need is based on how many pounds of fish you have. Likely you will have less then 2 lbs of fish in this tank when all is said and done.

Most people learned about k1 in aquariums by watching Joey on youtube as King of DIY, if that is where you learned about it then keep in mind Joey (admittedly) over filters his tanks. I remember in one episode he admitted he took whatever recommendations there were for filtration and multipled it by 5. Then he used a drum similar to what you are talking about for a tank with a water volume more then double of this tank and with fish that are bigger then what you will likely have. The thing is, overfiltering is not really a good thing. George Farmer did an interview with the guys that make k1 and they were saying you really do not want more of the media in a fluidized system then you actually need. That the more you put in the thinner the coat of bacteria that grows on it which in turn makes them less efficient. They showed off what they said were ideally coated media and they look very different from the media in joey's filters soo yeah, don't go overboard on the k1.

Just my 2 cents.
Admittedly I have kept large fish most of my aquarium hobby. Most of my larger sets up have been geared to keeping monster fish. The fluidized bed design is modeled from Joey's design.

Another option I just thought about today is breaking down my 120 gallon and making it into a sump. It needs to be resealed and I was going to to get rid of it, but maybe making it into a huge sump and getting rid of the two stage sump (55 tank and drum) would be a better idea.
 

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Very cool set up. Thank you. I would be interested in finding out more about your last sentence. Where did you read that putting the input and output on the same side eliminates dead spots? I would prefer to do it this way, but thought it would create dead spots.
I don't recall where I read it but a pair of diagrams makes sense. Here you can see my 75G back when it was in good shape. Recently, while removing pellia, I had my hand in the back left corner. It was much colder than the rest of the tank. The heater was even next to the spot, but to the right some. I took half of the spray bar and pointed it downward to try and eliminate the dead spot. But you can see how it can happen. The water shoots across the top, hits the far wall and starts a circular pattern, much of it blocked by the hardscape.



Now look what happens when you put the intake on the left also.



This is just theory but it makes sense. The same water shoots across the top but all the outflow comes from the left bottom.

And yeah, this is just theoretical, I have no idea if I'm right.

Bump:
Another option I just thought about today is breaking down my 120 gallon and making it into a sump. It needs to be resealed and I was going to to get rid of it, but maybe making it into a huge sump and getting rid of the two stage sump (55 tank and drum) would be a better idea.
A two stage sump seems to have more failure points. Look at all the connections and pumps. Make each of the fail, on paper, and see what happens. What empties? What overflows?

And look into the K1 beds that the other poster mentioned. I googled some and those look wicked cool. I still don't see how they do mechanical filtration. But...I found out, from my cichlid tank, that the poo just falls to the bottom. It never really made it to the filter.
 

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I re-did my aquascape today, ok, the last 2 1/2 days. Here it is with the spray bar and intake on the same side. There's a lot of roots floating around and I could see the rotation!

 

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If I were you, I would only have a coarse filter media up front. You can always polish it later in the process, but this would save you from having to replace your floss every other day. Planted tanks can generate a lot of physical debris, so having coarse filtration first and fine filtration at the end will save you a lot of time (and filter media).
 

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If I were you, I would only have a coarse filter media up front. You can always polish it later in the process, but this would save you from having to replace your floss every other day. Planted tanks can generate a lot of physical debris, so having coarse filtration first and fine filtration at the end will save you a lot of time (and filter media).
That makes a lot of sense. My tank wasn't planted. I put it on the top so I could reach in and grab it easily. I'm not sure how well that worked out in practice. I think the intakes were too high off the floor so my filter was as effective as it could have been.
 
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