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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We will be undertaking the build of a planted aquarium that will have submerged, emerged and terrestrial plants. The plan is to use Mr. Aqua 24" cube. The cube will be modified into a drop off by installing a glass shelf approximately 7" high and 15" long. With a water level 5"-8" from the top of the rimless tank, if my math is right will have a maximum water volume of 37 gallons. This is the inspiration photo:
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As in the photo the terrestrial plants will be at least a fern and an orchid.

Filtration will be a canister, right now Oase BioMaster Thermo 250. I will need help from the forum to see if the output of the filter can be split to provide adequate flow to the submerged plants but divert a small amount to create the waterfall. I will need to hide a mister on a timer within the waterfall. Also, if air in injected into the outflow would that give an appearance similar to photo? I know salt water would be too foamy to do something like this. My thoughts are that the inflow will need to be plumbed and hidden behind and under the rocks to pick up water from the deep part of the drop off section. Would running plumbing like this create re4strictions a placed strain on the pump? Need to go up a size to the 350? Already running CO2.

In the photo there are no visible underwater plants but this is where things will deviate. Haven't decided on if the tank will be a true blackwater and have a lot of tannins like the photo. Lighting plan is to use Kessil Tuna Sun. What I don't know is if there will need to be one for the deep section and one for the shallow of just a single light. Selection of plants will have to take this in consideration.

The plan will be to use very large stones. So a support will need to be made underneath the glass shelf. I am thinking using acrylic maybe X's using 3/8" thick.

The waterfall will create a lot of evaporation so plan on using the Tunze Osmolator 3155. I am thinking of using up to a 10 gallon reservoir with RO/DI water. 10 gallons will prevent an overflow if for some reason we have a runaway ATO. I just have to figure out what will fit in a 24" x 24" custom built stand.

The first step will be building the stand. Should I build the stand based on the specs on the 24" tank or should I buy the tank and build the stand from the actual tank?
 

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Sounds like a pretty cool project I would definitely recommend a few changes though if you are open to suggestions.

For filtration, I would just go straight to the 600. The oase filters are cool feature wise but tragically underpowered. The 600 is capable of 350 gallons per hour as their advertised flow rate. This is without head pressure and no media in the baskets. Rule of thumb with canister filters is to take the output and divide it in half to get actual amount of flow in your tank which means the 600 will give you just over 4 times turn over per hour assuming you have the 40 or so gallons in the tank.

Another thing to take into consideration is that no matter what you do you will never have a waterflow with white water. There is no way to replicate how much flow is going through that waterfall in an aquarium, we are talking thousands of gallons an hour.

I'd also highly suggest reconsidering the whole glass shelf thing. If you want rocks above the waterline then build them up from the back by placing them together and using either an aquarium epoxy putty or silicone so they don't fall down. Or If you just want plants above the waterline then use wood that branches above the water.

The reason to use rocks to build up the back is 1) its going to be a lot safer, and 2) you will need to hide that shelf anyway for the tank to look not weird.

I would check out md fishtanks on youtube. He has several builds with rock/wood/plants above the water line. It will also give you an idea of how this will look given the size tank you are using. Here is one of his recent videos.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like a great project. If you haven't already seen these I'd highly recommend checking them out. He does very detailed builds of tanks that probably have all the elements you are looking for.

Thanks I will check out the videos!

Sounds like a pretty cool project I would definitely recommend a few changes though if you are open to suggestions.

For filtration, I would just go straight to the 600. The oase filters are cool feature wise but tragically underpowered. The 600 is capable of 350 gallons per hour as their advertised flow rate. This is without head pressure and no media in the baskets. Rule of thumb with canister filters is to take the output and divide it in half to get actual amount of flow in your tank which means the 600 will give you just over 4 times turn over per hour assuming you have the 40 or so gallons in the tank.

Another thing to take into consideration is that no matter what you do you will never have a waterflow with white water. There is no way to replicate how much flow is going through that waterfall in an aquarium, we are talking thousands of gallons an hour.

I'd also highly suggest reconsidering the whole glass shelf thing. If you want rocks above the waterline then build them up from the back by placing them together and using either an aquarium epoxy putty or silicone so they don't fall down. Or If you just want plants above the waterline then use wood that branches above the water.

The reason to use rocks to build up the back is 1) its going to be a lot safer, and 2) you will need to hide that shelf anyway for the tank to look not weird.

I would check out md fishtanks on youtube. He has several builds with rock/wood/plants above the water line. It will also give you an idea of how this will look given the size tank you are using. Here is one of his recent videos.

I will definitely consider your recommendations. The last thing I need is the glass shelf to fail and broken tank with 40 gallons of water on the floor. I just felt the weight of all the stones/rocks would greatly exceed the weight of the same volume of water. That is why I was going to make the acrylic X's to place under the shelf that would transfer the weight to the bottom.

Other than expense would there be any disadvantage of using two Oase 350? I originally thought of it this way using one to inflow from bottom and outflow from top, the second inflow from top and outflow from bottom. Rock structure will be down the middle so flow would have to go around...

I've seen a few of MD Fishtanks videos, I have to look at this one.

The next thing I have to figure out is how much overhang you can have in the stand build? My idea is to have the stand and tank have the same exterior dimensions. So the support structure will be in essence 1/2" narrower around its perimeter.
 

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Thanks I will check out the videos!



I will definitely consider your recommendations. The last thing I need is the glass shelf to fail and broken tank with 40 gallons of water on the floor. I just felt the weight of all the stones/rocks would greatly exceed the weight of the same volume of water. That is why I was going to make the acrylic X's to place under the shelf that would transfer the weight to the bottom.

Other than expense would there be any disadvantage of using two Oase 350? I originally thought of it this way using one to inflow from bottom and outflow from top, the second inflow from top and outflow from bottom. Rock structure will be down the middle so flow would have to go around...

I've seen a few of MD Fishtanks videos, I have to look at this one.

The next thing I have to figure out is how much overhang you can have in the stand build? My idea is to have the stand and tank have the same exterior dimensions. So the support structure will be in essence 1/2" narrower around its perimeter.
Perhaps consider a small submersible pump behind the rocks for the waterfall. Also if you can add an air stone into the stream at the top it may simulate whitewater.
 

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Thanks I will check out the videos!



I will definitely consider your recommendations. The last thing I need is the glass shelf to fail and broken tank with 40 gallons of water on the floor. I just felt the weight of all the stones/rocks would greatly exceed the weight of the same volume of water. That is why I was going to make the acrylic X's to place under the shelf that would transfer the weight to the bottom.

Other than expense would there be any disadvantage of using two Oase 350? I originally thought of it this way using one to inflow from bottom and outflow from top, the second inflow from top and outflow from bottom. Rock structure will be down the middle so flow would have to go around...

I've seen a few of MD Fishtanks videos, I have to look at this one.

The next thing I have to figure out is how much overhang you can have in the stand build? My idea is to have the stand and tank have the same exterior dimensions. So the support structure will be in essence 1/2" narrower around its perimeter.
There is no reason not to use two filters instead of one. Some people prefer to use 2 filters. The negatives are space they take up in the cabinet and cost.

I'm not sure what you mean by the stand construction. The edges of the tank should have support under them all the way around and since this will be a rimless tank you also need a completely dead flat surface with support (not necessarily legs) in the middle as well. Do you mean the tank would extend out beyond the support of the legs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is no reason not to use two filters instead of one. Some people prefer to use 2 filters. The negatives are space they take up in the cabinet and cost.

I'm not sure what you mean by the stand construction. The edges of the tank should have support under them all the way around and since this will be a rimless tank you also need a completely dead flat surface with support (not necessarily legs) in the middle as well. Do you mean the tank would extend out beyond the support of the legs?
I am planning on using a piece of MDF the size of the tank to place immediately under the tank mat. Underneath that would be a 2x4 frame to attach the legs that is 1/2' - 5/8" smaller around the perimeter of the tank. Then the base would be the same size as the top frame. The bottom frame would have holes drilled in order to insert adjustable feet. Our floor isn't level. There is a possibility of having the bottom frame made of metal to facilitate having adjustable feet with high weight rating. If I go this route the legs in each corner will probably be made of angle iron. Then use lag bolts to attach wooden top frame as describe to the top. I'll create a drawing to help fabricate.
 

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If I understand correctly then what you are saying is your 24" x 24" cube will sit on a piece of mdf that is itself 24" x 24" but under that is a frame that is around 23" x 23" (or slightly smaller)?

If this is your plan then I would not do it. The edges of the tank are the most important to support. For rimless tanks the whole thing needs to be supported but the edges always need extra attention. Any sag in the edges leads to a busted tank and usually not right away.

I assume you are doing this as an aesthetic choice? If so you can make the top under the tank larger then the frame underneath, but the frame needs to be the same size as the tank. As an example, I built a stand for a 75 gallon tank. The dimensions of the tank are 20" x 48". The frame is thus 20" x 48", but the granite top I put on the stand is 22" x 51" giving me a 1" overhang all the way around. The tank when placed on the stand will have full support directly under it from the frame, there will be an edge all the way around where the granite sticks out further than the stand or tank. Here is a picture:



Additionally I would try not to use MDF if you can help it. Best choice would be a marine grade plywood but that's pretty expensive. An outdoor rated plywood will do. The reason is that mdf is extra susceptible to water where it basically falls apart. You can paint mdf very easily but for something that's going to have exposed edges AND be exposed to dripping water whenever you are doing water changes, not to mention your plan to use a fogger... no I would not want to use mdf. Use plywood and coat it in something waterproof, paint, poly, whatever, just so long as you give it that extra protection.

For self leveling feet, you have some options. As long as the floor is not too extreme you can buy thick rubber furniture feet and install them. This will self level the tank if we are talking about a few millimeters. If its more then that then go with your screw in leveling feet. BUT I would put in more then 1 per corner. I would do a bare minimum of 8 and more would be better. The more you distribute the weight the happier your floors will be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
If I understand correctly then what you are saying is your 24" x 24" cube will sit on a piece of mdf that is itself 24" x 24" but under that is a frame that is around 23" x 23" (or slightly smaller)?

If this is your plan then I would not do it. The edges of the tank are the most important to support. For rimless tanks the whole thing needs to be supported but the edges always need extra attention. Any sag in the edges leads to a busted tank and usually not right away.

I assume you are doing this as an aesthetic choice? If so you can make the top under the tank larger then the frame underneath, but the frame needs to be the same size as the tank. As an example, I built a stand for a 75 gallon tank. The dimensions of the tank are 20" x 48". The frame is thus 20" x 48", but the granite top I put on the stand is 22" x 51" giving me a 1" overhang all the way around. The tank when placed on the stand will have full support directly under it from the frame, there will be an edge all the way around where the granite sticks out further than the stand or tank. Here is a picture:



Additionally I would try not to use MDF if you can help it. Best choice would be a marine grade plywood but that's pretty expensive. An outdoor rated plywood will do. The reason is that mdf is extra susceptible to water where it basically falls apart. You can paint mdf very easily but for something that's going to have exposed edges AND be exposed to dripping water whenever you are doing water changes, not to mention your plan to use a fogger... no I would not want to use mdf. Use plywood and coat it in something waterproof, paint, poly, whatever, just so long as you give it that extra protection.

For self leveling feet, you have some options. As long as the floor is not too extreme you can buy thick rubber furniture feet and install them. This will self level the tank if we are talking about a few millimeters. If its more then that then go with your screw in leveling feet. BUT I would put in more then 1 per corner. I would do a bare minimum of 8 and more would be better. The more you distribute the weight the happier your floors will be.
I said MDF but I was thinking of Melamine White Panel that are used to make cabinets. But I am flexible.

My idea is to build a stand that doesn't have any doors. Instead a U-Shaped panel will slide forward on two pair of drawer slides. I figure given the small size of 24" x 24" Being able to access all three sides would be a bonus as opposed to trying to use doors. Also, will be spouse approved.
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The dotted line would be the outline of the tank and then the outline of the frame underneath. The overhang would eliminate the need to have a finished top edge of the U-Shaped panel. I have to look around to see if I can find panels with pre-finished edges. If not then will use the iron-on edge strips. I wanted to use bamboo panels but my source appears to be out of business. Higuera Hardwoods. I could also use a hardwood and use my table saw to make mitered 45 degree edge.
 

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Heh sorry but I have no idea what you are trying to build with this. I am not sure what you mean by a U shaped panel.

The important part is that under the tank there is complete support going all the way to the floor in the corners and bracing around the entire perimeter of the tank and something to stiffen the middle (not just a purely hollow frame with a piece of melamine on top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Heh sorry but I have no idea what you are trying to build with this. I am not sure what you mean by a U shaped panel.

The important part is that under the tank there is complete support going all the way to the floor in the corners and bracing around the entire perimeter of the tank and something to stiffen the middle (not just a purely hollow frame with a piece of melamine on top.
Gotcha! I didn't include the support structure in the drawing just the "finished" wood portions. The three paneled sketch at the bottom will be connected together and would move as one piece. It would be U-Shaped if viewed from above. So its a sketch of the top and below it the three sides connected together. Does that make sense? The support structure will follow the standard 2x4 construction you see most everywhere on the internet.

Thanks, you really answered my question in that the bottom of the tank must be fully supported so I have no choice but to have 1/2" - 5/8" of the top sticking out all the way around the tank to achieve the look I am aiming for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I may have to rethink the Kessil TUNA sun idea. I have a grow light I just added in kitchen for seedlings for garden and the Otocinclus have gone into hiding. Farthest back corner under HOB. Light is about 6-8' away. Just placed a foil shield on the light to see if they get back to normal, beginning to get algae on Anubias.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I had a Harlequin Rasbora disappear. Like alien abduction disappear. Not in tank, not on the floor. I packed filter floss in all the gaps so there isn't anyplace it could be. I don't want to completely disassemble the Seiryu stones but I may have to since if its in there ammonia levels could be going up.

Plan is to start on official stand drawings. I am going to rip 2" x 6" down to 2" x 4" to get as straight pieces as possible. I haven't decided whether to use a stone top of wood. Stone would be more elegant but really expensive since I don't have tools to finish it myself. I will check cost of nice Oak, Mahogany, vs stone or granite. Countertop fragment may allow me to go back to my original idea with overhang.

If the tank wasn't so expensive I would drill the tank to have the in/outflow set at the planned water level. So not even glass lily pipes hanging over the rim.

Found these levelling feet. Do you think these will work in a set of 4 to 8? They will take up space underneath the stand. Not sure if the type that would be inserted have this high of a rating.



Probably order these:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So the little lip on the plate is not enough to counteract that shearing force? Just trying to understand how they make an 8,000 lb. claim?
 

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My design would allow use of 4 bolts and lock nuts instead of wood screws. Aquarium, stand and water total will be under 800 lbs.
Ah, I missed the lip on the design. That would probably help it a lot, but you still need more than 4 for the sake of your floors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ah, I missed the lip on the design. That would probably help it a lot, but you still need more than 4 for the sake of your floors.
Great, I plan on using 2-1/4" to 2-3/4" screws to attach to the base. I'll be drawing a sketch of the parts. I'll try SketchUp first, until it starts taking too long.
 
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