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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
We downsized when we moved into this house... basically loosing two rooms in the process, but gaining acreage and a 1300sq ft shop for all my toys. My office also houses my fish tank, so the 40 gallon is the largest I can cram in here. I tell people I traded a 120 gallon reef tank for the shop in the move.
Ah, I see. I'm sure it's worth it in the end. I would love to have a dedicated workshop!
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
I placed the planting zone substrate this afternoon.

Wood Art Tints and shades Metal Glass


Window Picture frame Sky Wood Cloud


Cloud Water Vertebrate Jaw Wood


Water Plant Cloud Wood Sky


I realized that I had a fair amount of seasoned tropica soil in the deep freeze, so I ended up putting down a decent layer of aqua soil which I then capped with black flourite. The two look surprisingly similar in terms of color and size, so eventual mixing shouldn't be an issue.

I guess I need to figure out my planting strategy! I have two general plans in mind...

The first would employ vals on the back and left. These would ride the flow and drape across the length of the tank. The zone in front would then have crypts and some sort of shape- and color-contrasting ground cover. Maybe hydrocotyle tripartita? I might also try some needle leaf java fern on the heavy left end of the wood. The second option is... a lot of stems of some sort plus the java fern. I've been looking at Amano's book a lot, and I really like a lot of those early scapes with just a lot of variety of stems and ferns. I'm leaning toward the second option. I think the first could look cool, but it would utilize a lot of the same plants I've got in my other tank, and that seems kind of boring.

More to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
I mentioned in the previous post being inspired by some vintage Amano tanks. Here are a couple that are really speaking to me:

Plant Plant community Ecoregion Natural landscape Rectangle


Plant Wood Rectangle Sleeve Natural landscape


It's funny that I'm feeling these tanks so hard now, because it was Amano's later style (i.e., open sandy areas contrasting with elevated, rock-bordered planting zones punctuated with emergent wood) that in part inspired the hardscape.

So, here's where I think I'm at...

I'm able to adjust the direction of my lights to keep the sandy areas illuminated but not blasted, the back lit intensely, and the front planting zone lightly lit. I think that something like the above could work for me. I'm thinking lots of anubias bushing out against the rocks in the lower lit portion of the planting zone. I would mix some cryp undulata red into that area as well. That plant will contrast the anubias nicely in terms of color and texture and will thrive in the lower light.

On the back of the big piece of wood and at the base of the smaller piece on the right, I'm thinking narrow leaf java fern. And along the back, various taller stems and maybe a sword or two.

Given how much of the 'look' will come from java fern and anubias, this scape will take a while to mature, requiring much patience from me. Stretch goals...
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
Will you adorn the wood or leave it bare for contrast?
I'm planning to attach fern and anubias to the wood near the base, but to leave the long branches bare.

I tend to scape in layers and stages, so my thinking may change once I've got the initial group of plants filled out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
With the arrival of a new chair, the sitting room project is nearly complete!

Furniture Table Couch Picture frame Building


It started about a year ago, looking like this:

Plant Property Window Window blind Houseplant


I just need to get this tank planted... aaand get through the two or three months of new tank struggles. sigh. You've really got to want it with this hobby, huh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 · (Edited)
Plants are coming on Friday, so I figured it's time to get the co2 figured out for this tank. With a freshly filled bottle, and the filter housing back in reactor mode, I'm ready to get this show on the road...

Interior design Wood Art Picture frame Bird


Our tap has really low kh, and the driftwood drags the pH down quite a bit (it is a pretty big piece of wood). Tap pH is ~7.3 and the degassed tank measures 6.7 tonight. I'm shooting for a drop of 1.2, or a target pH around lights-on of 5.5.

I'm using a flow meter with a 106ccm (air) tube, a 150mm scale, and a really kick-ass precision valve. I also happen to have a data sheet for this tube, which is super helpful. So, where to start? Well, my livingroom tank (the other journal in my signature) has a flow meter with a ccm (air @ 15psi) scale, and I run at 18ccm on that scale to get a similar drop to the one I'm shooting for here. According to my data sheet, that would be equivalent to 57mm on this meter's scale. I'm doing a test run tonight at 70mm, which corresponds to 25.6ccm (air). That's a 42% increase relative to the other tank. This tank's water volume is probably in the neighborhood of 100 gallons (factoring out hardscape and a low water line), where the other tank is around 70. In other words, this tank has ~43% more water volume. So, 70mm seems like a reasonable place to start.

Automotive design Font Audio equipment Gauge Drink


I'm really lucky to have snagged this meter/valve combo. I'm able to dial in a precise flow rate and it doesn't move. At all.

The reactor is working as expected. I'm using a slightly different design this time with the co2 line running right into the housing through a bulkhead. It makes the plumbing a bit simpler because I don't need a barb between the bypass and the housing. All in all, I like it.

Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tire Tread Camera lens


I'm using a Milwaukee monitor to track the pH.

Water Tap Liquid Cloud Wood


Wood Rectangle Recipe Tints and shades Audio equipment


So what am I trying to achieve here? Really I just want to get things in the ball park before the plants go in. I'll keep the pH monitor in the tank for a while and will tweak as needed.
 

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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...
;);)
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.
I am still pondering a booster pump for my Oase 600. Would you mind revisiting this?

So my thought is to add the booster pump to the outlet and "Y" the output but I am uncertain about how the two pumps will work in tandem. One thought that I had was to remove the impeller from the Oase and unplug the motor, leaving the external booster pump to take over the pulling. In this way there would be no fighting or obstruction from the Oase. I would just need to dial in the flow using some external valves or a DC pump controller. It seems to me that priming and restarting would not change. I realize that some will suggest simply getting a new larger filter but I really love the Oase prefilter, internal heater and media baskets.

If I had it to do over again I would buy a tank drilled for an overflow and use a sump. I would also get a 5' or 6' tank! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #94 · (Edited)
I am still pondering a booster pump for my Oase 600. Would you mind revisiting this?

So my thought is to add the booster pump to the outlet and "Y" the output but I am uncertain about how the two pumps will work in tandem. One thought that I had was to remove the impeller from the Oase and unplug the motor, leaving the external booster pump to take over the pulling. In this way there would be no fighting or obstruction from the Oase. I would just need to dial in the flow using some external valves or a DC pump controller. It seems to me that priming and restarting would not change. I realize that some will suggest simply getting a new larger filter but I really love the Oase prefilter, internal heater and media baskets.

If I had it to do over again I would buy a tank drilled for an overflow and use a sump. I would also get a 5' or 6' tank! ;)
Always happy to talk pumps and plumbing!

I'm not sure I'm following what you mean when you say "Y the output" - can you elaborate?

I don't think you need to get a bigger filter just to get a bigger pump. I feel like that's a bit of a trap with the planted tanks... When it comes down to it, we don't often need the filtration volume of canisters that come with pumps powerful enough for our purposes (powering reactors especially). On this tank, for example, I'm using an FX4. I don't really need more volume than that, but the pump wouldn't come close to providing the power necessary for all my in-line mechanicals. Much easier to buy the canister based on the filtration volume and features you want and add a booster pump.

As for taking the impeller out... I think it really depends on your system. The FX4 doesn't have a priming mechanism, so there's no good way for me to get water to the booster pump from a dry startup without turning the canister on. That's a really nice feature of my setup because I don't ever have to manually start a siphon.

I'm not familiar with the Oase - if it has a nice priming capability, you may be fine taking the impeller out and calling it a day. One option is to put a tee after the booster pump with a ball valve and a short length of tubing. You can use that tee'd tubing to start the siphon manually and then close the valve. Easy peasy. I was going to do that here before I realized it wasn't necessary given how the FX is built.

There were two reasons I didn't choose a sump for this tank. First is that I wanted my filter intake to draw from low in the water (vs. purely from the surface like you get with an overflow). Second is that I didn't want to lock into a filtration arrangement - specifically, the placement of the overflow. As much as I want this tank to run for years and years, whatever the next iteration looks like, I may not want it to be peninsula style. I might want to black out the glass and do a spraybar all along the back. Who knows! A canister lets me do the filtration however I want and in a non-permanent way.
 

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Always happy to talk pumps and plumbing!

I'm not sure I'm following what you mean when you say "Y the output" - can you elaborate?

I don't think you need to get a bigger filter just to get a bigger pump. I feel like that's a bit of a trap with the planted tanks... When it comes down to it, I don't think we often need the filtration volume of canisters that come with pumps powerful enough for our needs (powering reactors especially). On this tank, for example, I'm using an FX4. I don't think I really need more volume than that, but the pump wouldn't come close to providing the power I need for all my in-line mechanicals. Much easier to buy the canister based on the filtration volume and features you want and add a booster pump.

As for taking the impeller out... I think it really depends on your system. The FX4 doesn't have a priming mechanism, so there's no good way for me to get water to the booster pump from a dry startup without turning the canister on. That's a really nice feature of my setup because I don't ever have to manually start a siphon.

I'm not familiar with the Oase - if it has a nice priming capability, you may be fine taking the impeller out and calling it a day. One option is to put a tee after the booster pump with a ball valve and a short length of tubing. You can use that tee'd tubing to start the siphon manually and then close the valve. Easy peasy. I was going to do that here before I realized it wasn't necessary given how the FX is built.

There were two reasons I didn't choose a sump for this tank. First is that I wanted my filter intake to draw from low in the water (vs. purely from the surface like you get with an overflow). Second is that I didn't want to lock into a filtration arrangement - specifically, the placement of the overflow. As much as I want this tank to run for years and years, whatever the next iteration looks like, I may not want it to by peninsula style. I might want to black out the glass and do a spraybar all along the back. Who knows! A canister lets me do the filtration however I want and in a non-permanent way.
By "Y" I mean splitting the output so that I could put another inlet on the opposite side of the tank and in the back corner to get good flow across my dense back side.

Thanks. That was very helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 · (Edited)
Small update.

I'm homing in on the correct flow rate for the CO2. It looks like it's going to be in the 90-95mm range. A fair bit higher than I expected. I'll have to see how long a 10lb bottle lasts at this rate, but I'm thinking about switching to a 20. I can get those swapped at the local welding supply shop, whereas I currently have the 10s filled at a department store. Time will tell.

Some plants have started to melt a bit. I actually got pretty lucky on that front since it ended up being colder than expected while they were in transit. In any case I added some established media from the sump of the 80g to the canister last night. Hoping that will help a bit with the new tank struggles. I plan to do periodic infusions of sump sponge over the first few months.

I also ordered an ATO pump. It's a 50ml/min paristaltic pump that I'll use to dump a gallon into the display each day. That seems to be my rough evaporation rate so far. I'll use a 10g reservoir of some sort. I'd like to use a Tamco storage tank vs say an old aqueon since it will fit much more efficiently in the stand. Having a hard time biting the bullet on that for some reason. I think I'm offended by the shipping cost, lol. Just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall project I guess!
 

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Looking fantastic so far!
 

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Discussion Starter · #100 · (Edited)
My wife had some cuttings from her fern tank, so I'm trying a thing...

Water Green Branch Organism Wood


I've got two different vine cuttings pressed into the natural concavity on the back of the wood. I'm hoping these will attach themselves and that their roots will stay for the most part out of sight due to the wood's natural shape.

I'm not sure how this will look in the end, but I think it will work better if the green above the water isn't disconnected from the green below the water. So, I'll need to get some Java Fern to fill in just below the water to make it more visually connected.

Plant Green Wood Branch Window


I think I'd put pool noodle and zip ties right up there with gaffer's tape on the list of indispensable household items.
 
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