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5' Rimless - The Malaysian Driftwood Installation

54722 Views 797 Replies 56 Participants Last post by  EmotionalFescue
I have been picking away at this project for a little while: building a light mount, gathering equipment, etc... Just this evening I was finally able to get the tank itself onto the stand (it has been in the garage waiting on sufficient muscle and planning to make the move into the house). I figure this is a good time to start a journal.

Here's where things stand as of this evening:

Window Wood Twig Rectangle Art


Table Furniture Property Picture frame Building


Wood Building Couch Floor Art


Some of you may be familiar with this space, as it is the same spot that previously housed a 68g chronicled in this tank journal. As I came to realize (and note in that journal), this is the best spot in my house for a larger tank due to the arrangement of floor joists for the main level, which sits above a full unfinished basement. Ultimately, as much as I loved that tank, it was a missed opportunity for the space. I finished that project on a high note and took it down to make room for this five-footer. This tank size is a much better fit.

I already knew I was going to put a bigger tank in this space when I found this truly massive piece of driftwood at my local fish shop. Once I had the wood, the contours of the project started to take shape. For example, I was going to need spot lighting from about 90" off the floor. There will be no lid. There will be the potential for emergent growth and/or a mixed aquatic and terrestrial planting. Many things are still unknown, but they're starting to fall into place. One thing at a time!

First - the name of the tank journal should reflect the absurdity of the wood's proportions. Check.

Next is plumbing.

Then, hardscape.

More (much more) to come.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice setup and great looking space! What size tank is this and where did you get it?

Looking forward to seeing where you go with it.
Thanks! It's supposed to be a dining room, but after several attempts, we decided we just aren't dining room people. Works much better as a sitting room for us.

It's a Waterbox brand tank measuring 60"L x 25"W x 22"H (130G). While the waterbox tanks don't have the beveled corners, the glass and silicone work are just as nice as UNS (we also have a 90U and a 50G waterbox), and they're not so hard to come by. I ordered this on their website when it was back-ordered, and it was in my garage two weeks later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What lighting is that?
Those are Kessil a360x lights with 35 degree reflectors.

They are pricey, and there are things I don't love about them, but I already had two of them from the tank I took down to make room for this one. I also needed whatever lights I used to be really high off the water while also not blinding someone sitting on the couch. In the end they were the obvious (maybe only?) choice for my situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This going to be an awesome tank. That piece of wood is perfect for the tank.
Thanks - I hope so! It's a really inspiring hunk of wood, but it makes every aspect of the build really challenging.

At the moment I'm puzzling over the in-tank intake and return plumbing. It's tricky when there's a giant oar-shaped obstacle jutting through the flow zone! (I did this to myself...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are there any other lights that you would try? I'm considering turning my 22-long into a paludarium with the lights about three feet away from the water surface. I'm trying to figure out what lighting would work at that distance or if I just need to put lighting directly over tank.
Hmmm. I think that, depending on how much intensity you need and how much spill is allowable, you could have lots of options. Are you thinking the lights would be mounted to the top of an enclosure itself, or on some other sort of mount?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It would be nice to mount them to the top of the enclosure to provide an unobstructed view. If that is unrealistic though, I could always look at mounting a light closer to the water surface. Light level would ideally be at least medium (let's say 30 par at substrate). I don't want to do one of those paluldariums where the water part is neglected, I want it to be lush from the bottom up.
Yeah, I think mounting high off the water without a ton of spill and lots of lost par is tricky without a way to concentrate the light. I'm not sure what I would have done for this tank if I couldn't use those really narrow beam reflectors...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I thought maybe they were kessils but the reflectors threw me. I am teetering on the edge between a160we and AI prime 16hd for my 12 foot tank. I will need 5 of whatever I get.

Thanks for the reply.
I see. For what it's worth, I have an AI prime, and that thing is loud. You might see if you can see/hear one in person before committing to having five of them going at once.

Even at middling output levels the fan will kick on at full speed sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have one on a nano reef. I don't notice the noise on my desk. But, then again, it's on my left side and the hearing in that ear is going. LOL
Interesting! Maybe I got a bad one... I do really like the quality of the light from them, and they have a nice form factor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Plumbing progress!

Today I finished the return assembly and tied it into the line I attached to the wall prior to getting the tank and stand situated.

Here's the return assembly, which is designed to hang on the end of the tank:

Musical instrument Road surface Wood Bicycle part Line


Bicycle handlebar Wood Automotive tire Flooring Floor


Note that since they will be completely in the tank, the return 'jets' (the 90deg elbows on the very ends) are not cemented and can be adjusted for depth or direction.

Here it is all tied in:

Wood Yellow Vehicle door Automotive tire Tints and shades


Water Wood Bumper Automotive exterior Flooring


The intake assembly is next, but I need to order some parts before I can start (I ended up changing the return design at the last minute and stole some fittings that were to be used for the intake). I hope to get that going next weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
Plumbing progress!

Last night I finished the intake assembly and this evening I was able to get the pump and canister plumbed in and everything running.

The assembly has a deep water intake (I ended up using a Fluval FX piece for this) and a skimmer. The skimmer currently has black schedule 40 for the upright portion (stand pipe? nesting pipe?) but I'll be replacing it with clear sch 40 when it arrives. The bobber itself was taken from a Jardli skimmer. I had to add a bit of pipe insulation to keep it buoyant with the level of throughput I've got.

Automotive design Electricity Tints and shades Glass Space


Since the beginning I've planned to have a naked-but-clean mechanical aesthetic. Kind of like naked style motorcycles where the mechanicals aren't hidden behind a fairing, but it's still sexy. I maybe wish I'd used black sch 40 for the intake assembly, but I can always replace it down the line if I don't get used to it.

Wood Tints and shades Gas Rectangle Fixture


Fixture Rectangle Wood Floor Flooring


Fluid Flooring Floor Plumbing fixture Plumbing


Window Rectangle Shade Automotive design Wood


I'm currently just running the canister and pump for testing. Still need to install the heater, sterilizer, and reactor.

Wheel Tire Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel Automotive tire


All in all the plumbing works as intended. Whether or not this will yield good circular (rectangular?) flow with all the hardscape in place remains to be seen...

More to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
I love it that you made your own skimmer.

Can you say something about the booster pump? Is it DC and controllable? On the filter output side? Quiet?
I would consider one for my 75g so that I could split my return and get better flow along the back of my tank. Although my tank is very stable right now and I am hesitant to mess with the balance.
Sure!

It is a DC controllable pump with 1300gph Max flow and 12' head height (i.e., flow won't decrease easily with increased pressure). It's extremely quiet, but...

Hat Font Event Table Photo caption

So, yeah, dropped some coin on a ultra quiet german return pump for this tank, but that wouldn't have been needed for a smaller tank... This tank is just big enough that the Eheim universal AC pumps I like (and which are bullet-proof and relatively cheap) wouldn't do it.

The DC pumps are tricky because they can be quieter than an Eheim in a raw decibel sense, but the sound can be much less... organic? The Eheims have a hum that is pretty quiet after they break in and which doesn't bother me at all. I have an Echo Tech Marine DC pump in the living room for example that is 'quiet' but the sound it does put out is pretty high pitched and not my favorite.

As for its placement - the pump is immediately after the canister (on the canister out) and will be right before the reactor. The reactor will then go to the sterilizer which will go to the heater which will go to the hard pipe return line. There are a few reasons for that placement. First is that canister keeps debris out of the pump. Also, the pump in the FX4 is in the bottom of the canister (rather than in the canister head which is more typical), which makes priming the system super simple. To start up the system from scratch I have to fill the FX 'bucket' with water and turn it on. It pumps out the entire contents of the canister before it starts sucking wind, so it starts the syphon on the intake line without me having to do anything special. Once the air is mostly out of the line I can turn on the booster pump and turn off the FX. This placement also allows me to generate some pressure in the reactor which is useful for dissolution and keeping the noise down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I like your idea for dealing with filtration. Instead of trying to hide it, make it obvious and just make it clean. And you did make it clean! My own engine room is a mess on my larger tank ;P

If you have the option I would definitely make everything in the tank black including that stand pipe for the skimmer. Reason being is algae. On my newt tank I have some regular white pvc on the return to create a diy skimmer. It collects algae like mad and frankly is mostly uncleanable. I mean I scrub it but the pvc is porous enough that the algae has settled into the pores and is now resistant to all scrubbing. I kind of gave up and will be replacing it with a different configuration down the line. Black pvc on the other hand is much more likely to hide green algae then light gray and certainly more then clear pieces.

The scrubbing issues is one reason why the only equipment in my big tank are stainless steel lily pipes. The skimmer piece is clear acrylic. If it was possible to make that stainless steel I would leap at the chance. As it is I am debating buying a whole different set of lily pipes just to get a skimmer unit that is made of black plastic instead. I am guessing you want to preserve the 1" diameter of piping all the way through and to my knowledge no one makes 1" steel lily pipes. So if you wanted to take full advantage of your flow you would need 2 sets of steel pipes and a couple of splitters.
Thanks! Wasn't sure if it would be to any one else's liking, but I'm digging it.

I want the stand pipe specifically to be clear so I can see how low the air is getting pulled. But, yeah, It will get the funk. I'm going to see how the grey plays out once it's all planted since I'm thinking it's going to be pretty jungly on that left side, and there may just not be enough light on it to be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
I was happy to see that the inline heater (build thread here) is performing well this morning...

Surveillance camera Audio equipment Gas Plumbing Pipeline transport


The tank was reading 65° when I filled it yesterday afternoon, and it was pretty chilly on the main level overnight. It's holding steady at 78° this morning.

I also verified yesterday that placing the thermometer inside the housing was a good choice when I turned off the pump for a while and forgot to turn off the heater... Oops. In any case, it shut off as expected!
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
We have cabinet doors!

Cabinetry Wood Interior design Rectangle Floor


I left them off while I was doing all the mechanical work, but now that's complete. This really feels like an inflection point... on to the hardscape!

Also, the 'clear' PVC came in today, so I replaced the black stand pipe with a section of it. I like being able to see, but this is not clear. It is purple. One of these days I'm going to get some legit clear 90deg elbows for the return jets (two sets so I can just wash the dirty set in the dishwasher and always have another ready to go) - I'll pick up some for real clear 3/4" for the stand pipe then.

In any case, it's nice to be able to see how the skimmer is doing. As you can see, it really pulls down low. In fact, the whole system is power-limited by the skimmer. If I turn the pump up much higher, the skimmer will start sucking wind. I could add some slits to the stand pipe to give me a little more wiggle room, but I suspect this will be enough flow (though it's always hard to tell without anything in the tank).

Ideally, I would have a larger diameter stand pipe and floating weir, though it's tricky to do with off-the-shelf PVC sizes as only certain combinations nest very snugly. Something to fiddle with down the road I guess.

String instrument Wood Flash photography Tints and shades Plucked string instruments
 
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