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AcidGambit's Lake Tanganyika (21 Long)

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For those that have been following me, I've had some issues going high tech with this 21 Long, so I've made the decision to follow a totally different path. I'm going to put together a Lake Tanganyika tank, with a shell bed for shell-dweller cichlids and a nice big pile of seiryu stone for some stone/cave dwellers. I will be adding some plants (I think I'm mostly stuck with anubias) to keep this appropriate for this forum :grin2:

The first milestone was drilling the tank -- I am going with a overflow/sump setup. It was somewhat nerve wracking to drill into this tank (UNS 90L), but I think it turned out pretty well.




The tank needs another 2-3 cleaning passes, then it's time to paint the back with Plasti-Dip.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I fine-cleaned the tank and painted the back with Plasti-Dip. The outside has the rubberized texture that you would expect. The inside is a mirror black finish. This should really make the seiryu stone pop. The plan is to let it sit for at least a week before I install the bulk heads so that the Plasti-Dip can cure and hopefully not peel when I tighten the bulkheads. My PVC source is out of the some the fittings I need--the silver lining is that it will force me to give the Plasti-Dip plenty of time to cure.


 

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So cool! Of course the tank looks sleek and stunning :)
Really looking forward to this journal with shell dwellers. Ive never kept them but Ive heard their behaviors are fascinating. Please do lots of updates setting up tank to fit their requirements, feeding, breeding behaviors, etc... it will be a great resource for others interested in these fish.
 

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So cool! Of course the tank looks sleek and stunning :)
Really looking forward to this journal with shell dwellers. Ive never kept them but Ive heard their behaviors are fascinating. Please do lots of updates setting up tank to fit their requirements, feeding, breeding behaviors, etc... it will be a great resource for others interested in these fish.
Will do! I work from home and this tank sits to my left side, so I'm really looking forward to being able to observe these guys through the day.
 

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Yeah, I was going to say that I grew most everything in my Tanganyika tank. Any epiphyte plants like Anubias, Bolbitis, Java fern and such especially. I had luck with Vals, Crypts, and I've never had dwarf chain swords grow so fast as in that tank. I wouldn't assume that because hardness is beyond the care sheet recommendation that they won't grow, you pretty much have to just try different things and see how they do. This is going to be a sweet set up, can't wait to see how it progresses!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thinking out loud here, I may use some trident java fern in spots along the base of the rock, with some anubias nana mini higher up to simulate larger plants that grow at lower elevations, etc. Bolbitis are an interesting option. I didn't think that they would thrive in the hard, basic water that I will be targeting.
 

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Slow progress, unfortunately. But I think I finally have my plumbing figured out. The unfortunate reality is that my stand, which works really well with the rest of the decor in my office, is not meant for plumbing a fish tank. I have to place the sump off to one side and there isn't much vertical height to work with. I think I finally have it figured out (mix of hard plumbing and tubing) and my remaining parts should arrive sometime this week. Here are some progress pictures.


 

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Ugh, leak test failed today. I was most concerned about the leak occurring at one of the return bulkheads or the bulkhead between the overflow box and the tank. Oddly enough, however, it occurred on one of the bulkheads for the drain connections on the overflow box (closest one in the image below). I'm not sure what I am going to do yet. Of course it occurred on the part of my plumbing where I couldn't fit a union to ease disassembly and reuse!



Here's a picture of the sump for those that are interested.



I also learned a few things today. First, keep your returns pointed up when filling, not down. I didn't have the return pump plugged into the controller yet and the returns started a siphon down to the sump because they were pointed down below the drain level. Luckily, I caught it with the shutoff valves less than half an inch from the top of the sump.

Also, it looks like my pump has more than enough power to overwhelm the primary drain, so I'll need to really ramp it down when I get everything figured out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've figured out what I am going to do. I am going to cut the old plumbing off of the overflow box and start over with new bulkheads. The downside is that this will put the tank on hold for at least another week while I wait for parts to arrive in the mail. But it is preferable to trying to fix the problem with silicone and potentially leaving a latent problem waiting to fail. The other plus is that this will allow me to better route the drains into the sump using PVC, which should eliminate some minor kinking I had at the entry to the sump chamber.
 

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Look ma, no leaks! The first run through I cranked down on the one bulkhead so hard that I separated threaded portion from the flange. Second time through was a charm and the plumbing fits better. I have some more tweaks, like making the emergency drain higher to get rid of the remaining gurgle. But this is very exciting!


 

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Really interested to see your flow pattern with the rear outflows once it's planted. One thing that caught my attention in a previous post was the water back siphoning through your return lines. Can your sump take all the backflow when the pump turns off or do you have another method like syphon breaks/check valves?

Can't wait to see this progress.
 

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Really interested to see your flow pattern with the rear outflows once it's planted. One thing that caught my attention in a previous post was the water back siphoning through your return lines. Can your sump take all the backflow when the pump turns off or do you have another method like syphon breaks/check valves?

Can't wait to see this progress.
Most of the recommendations that I've read say that you shouldn't rely on check valves to prevent your sump from overflowing. I adjusted the angle of my returns so that the sump can handle the amount of water that siphons into it when the return pump is off. The thinking is that siphon breaks (which are typically small holes) can also clog fairly easily, so it's best to just rely on sump volume to make it work. As it stands, I don't have much wiggle room when the return pump is off, so I'll probably add another link of Loc-Line to my returns so that I can lift the return nozzles further up.
 
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