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Discussion Starter #21
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For the auto water change system, it would probably be a lot better to put everything on a timer rather then have it fill whenever a sensor gets alerted. That way you could stop your filter at the same time and thus allow the water to flow out or into the tank without fighting the flow of the filter. I am just guessing on this, I've never tried to do what you are doing here but that would be how I would do it.
I hear your point @minorhero regarding required power/flow of canister filters. I will need to think this further, but all this input is very very helpful! :)

Regarding the sump/canister, I see your point regarding lily pipes (I would not use Euro bracing); but the alternative of a sump, as far as I understand, one needs to install an overflow system such as bean animal, which requires a not-so-pretty-looking box at the back of the aquarium... that one also, in my opinion, significantly impacts the aesthetics. Is there any alternative way of making the sump without the need for such an overflow box?

Regarding the water change - if sump, then it will be easy. If canister I am thinking my sketch should probably work; keeping filter "on" is a must, because when solenoid valve opens on timer, the hose is thinner than the return hose from the filter; 80% water will still continue back to tank and 20% water will go towards the drain/sewage (rough figures). The filter will push the water through this drain hose so it will help. The topping-up is connected higher up, so I'm not loosing clean water; this one comes under pressure already but then is further assisted by the flow of the canister, which pulls the fresh water along; the solenoid valve should be controlled automatically by water level because this way it will be able to continuously top up also to fight evaporation, which will probably be considerable with such a large open top tank. I will need to test the design and manually meter out the timer-vs-volume drained to set appropriate daily timer but I think this should work. Again: only in case of canister filter. If going via sump route, the solution is much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
I have a 100 gallon with a sump and a 120 with 2 canisters. When I got the 120 money was a bit tight and I already had one large canister so I decided to be cheap and go that route instead. I do regret my decision. For any future large tanks I get I'll be going the sump route.
I've read your 120 gal aquarium thread - wonderful aquarium, phenomenal photos; I subscribed to follow... you don't say anything there that you felt canisters were the wrong choice, though. Do you mind sharing your regrets? I have a 100gal low-tech discus tank with basic plants at the moment and it is completely fine with one Eheim Professionel 3 XL canister... I never had any water problems. What are in your experiences the cons that you are now having with the canisters? Servicing/cleaning the filters or water quality? Noise? What is the noise with your sump?
Do share more, please :)
 

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I hear your point @minorhero regarding required power/flow of canister filters. I will need to think this further, but all this input is very very helpful! :)

Regarding the sump/canister, I see your point regarding lily pipes (I would not use Euro bracing); but the alternative of a sump, as far as I understand, one needs to install an overflow system such as bean animal, which requires a not-so-pretty-looking box at the back of the aquarium... that one also, in my opinion, significantly impacts the aesthetics. Is there any alternative way of making the sump without the need for such an overflow box?

Regarding the water change - if sump, then it will be easy. If canister I am thinking my sketch should probably work; keeping filter "on" is a must, because when solenoid valve opens on timer, the hose is thinner than the return hose from the filter; 80% water will still continue back to tank and 20% water will go towards the drain/sewage (rough figures). The filter will push the water through this drain hose so it will help. The topping-up is connected higher up, so I'm not loosing clean water; this one comes under pressure already but then is further assisted by the flow of the canister, which pulls the fresh water along; the solenoid valve should be controlled automatically by water level because this way it will be able to continuously top up also to fight evaporation, which will probably be considerable with such a large open top tank. I will need to test the design and manually meter out the timer-vs-volume drained to set appropriate daily timer but I think this should work. Again: only in case of canister filter. If going via sump route, the solution is much easier.
There is technically a third option that uses canister filters but not lily pipes. It is rarely used but you can drill a tank wherever you want, and then instead of connecting the bulkhead to a sump, you connect it to a canister filter instead. You would want to install a ball valve at the same time so you don't need to drain your tank to service things. This method has a LOT of disadvantages chief among them, you have a drilled tank whose holes will be (unless you put them way up high in the correct spot) incompatible with a sump down the line which will mean plugging them and drilling new holes should you decide to go with a sump at some future date. The advantage is that you can put them somewhere that will be hidden by plants/hardscape so you can't see them from the front. Of course another disadvantage is that it will dramatically limit your aquascape options as well.

The reality is that the hobby does not well support very large sized tanks. ADA and UNS both make a 150 gallon tank 180cm long and that's really it for out of the box solutions. Even those tanks typically require multiple filters to work.

Anyway regarding the filter being on to drain the tank, I think you would find the siphon effect more then sufficient to drain the tank. I have sadly learned all about siphons being VERY active when I have disconnected lines to my canister filter without removing the lily pipe from the tank. But /shrug I'm sure it will drain just fine with the filter running as well. If you wanted to put things on a timer you simply set things to run every day before you go to bed. Drain it 10% and refill etc. This has the advantage of getting it done while you are still around so if/when something breaks (because everything breaks eventually) you will be there to fix it and not wake up to the sound of water spilling onto the floor etc. Evaporation will not be so much from a single day that it will be noticeable in a tank this big, certainly less than 1 cm.

Of course without a sump you will definitely need a sensor inside the tank to determine refill height.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
guys, I've been trying to look more deeply into the sump option. Technically I get it - would allow for much flexibility and my needs. But as far as aesthetics, I was not able to find anything that would be really pleasing to my eyes... I like the "bean animal" concept of a quiet overflow, but most of what i was able to find were really big overflow boxes on the inside of the aquarium, taking lots of space and not looking pretty and all the ready-made are, for some strange reason, made with black acrylic instead of transparent.
Can anyone point me to a thread / build or a link that would show some nice well designed overflow that is not only functional but also minimalistic and clean-looking (in an ADA sense... clean glass, minimal intrusion into the aquarium etc.)? I'd really appreciate some pointers... I've spent hours googling but I can't find anything that I like in terms of aesthetics... :(
 

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You can design your overflow wherever you want it. How are you planning on orienting it in the room? Are you going to have the long side against the wall, or treat it more like a room divider, with a short side on the wall?
 

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The tank that comes to mind is the Amano private residence tank.

There are lots of videos of people giving tours of the tank. Here is one showing how it was made.


Not exactly rimless but you get the idea.

Anyway if I were to build this tank I would choose one of the short side walls and designate it the sump side. I would build a nice hardwood box to cover the overflow which would be external to the tank, and then put in a big door in my hardwood box to allow for easy access. When looking at the tank you would still get that unobstructed view when looking front to back, but all equipment would be hidden. And all you would see from the outside is a nice wooden wall along one side of the tank. Any tank maker worth talking to can build or install an overflow for you and out of any color of acrylic you want. Most prefer black because of algae.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
You can design your overflow wherever you want it. How are you planning on orienting it in the room? Are you going to have the long side against the wall, or treat it more like a room divider, with a short side on the wall?
I posted in post #“1 in this thread some sketches of the aquarium position. So with the restriction of the glass sliding door on the left side I would need to position the overflow box to the right of the aquarium - something like this:
1026333

Or, I could position the overflow somewhere at the back and INSIDE the aquarium so that I have no external piping and everything goes straight through the drilled holes at the bottom of the tank into the sump. This would be even cleaner from the outside perspective, but I would probably need to then mask it in black to hide the pipes and that would probably require me to paint black the entire backside... which I do not find that attractive. it makes the atmosphere of the scape even darker... any thoughts on that?
1026334




The tank that comes to mind is the Amano private residence tank.
There are lots of videos of people giving tours of the tank. Here is one showing how it was made.
Not exactly rimless but you get the idea.
Anyway if I were to build this tank I would choose one of the short side walls and designate it the sump side. I would build a nice hardwood box to cover the overflow which would be external to the tank, and then put in a big door in my hardwood box to allow for easy access. When looking at the tank you would still get that unobstructed view when looking front to back, but all equipment would be hidden. And all you would see from the outside is a nice wooden wall along one side of the tank. Any tank maker worth talking to can build or install an overflow for you and out of any color of acrylic you want. Most prefer black because of algae.
This tank is a huge inspiration indeed! My wife also wants us to make some of the roots and plants grow out of the water - hence open top / rimless :)
I get the point of hiding to the right side in a box, but if you look at the position of my aquarium it is set against the wall and left and right are open spaces... to the right is the dining area and to the left is the reception area - front looks into the living room. So I really need to be mindful that the aquarium is clean and visible from all three sides. I can only play at the back or drill holes through the bottom.

If I do an overflow like this - how would I calculate the right size of the overflow on the INSIDE of the aquarium? On the outside it would be bean animal box which I found lots of good instruction sketches... how would I calculate the necessary sizing on the inside? Width, height and depth? I would then drill holes through the back wall of the aquarium to the outside bean animal box.
Sizing requirements would probably be the same in case I make the entire overflow on the INSIDE with piping drilled through the bottom of the tank, right?
...I just can't figure out the right way to do this aesthetically...
 

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I posted in post #“1 in this thread some sketches of the aquarium position. So with the restriction of the glass sliding door on the left side I would need to position the overflow box to the right of the aquarium - something like this:
View attachment 1026333
Or, I could position the overflow somewhere at the back and INSIDE the aquarium so that I have no external piping and everything goes straight through the drilled holes at the bottom of the tank into the sump. This would be even cleaner from the outside perspective, but I would probably need to then mask it in black to hide the pipes and that would probably require me to paint black the entire backside... which I do not find that attractive. it makes the atmosphere of the scape even darker... any thoughts on that?
View attachment 1026334





This tank is a huge inspiration indeed! My wife also wants us to make some of the roots and plants grow out of the water - hence open top / rimless :)
I get the point of hiding to the right side in a box, but if you look at the position of my aquarium it is set against the wall and left and right are open spaces... to the right is the dining area and to the left is the reception area - front looks into the living room. So I really need to be mindful that the aquarium is clean and visible from all three sides. I can only play at the back or drill holes through the bottom.

If I do an overflow like this - how would I calculate the right size of the overflow on the INSIDE of the aquarium? On the outside it would be bean animal box which I found lots of good instruction sketches... how would I calculate the necessary sizing on the inside? Width, height and depth? I would then drill holes through the back wall of the aquarium to the outside bean animal box.
Sizing requirements would probably be the same in case I make the entire overflow on the INSIDE with piping drilled through the bottom of the tank, right?
...I just can't figure out the right way to do this aesthetically...
If you want/need the backwall to be the location of the overflow then sad to say its not going to give you that clean aesthetic you want. If it were me and I was planning for that type of situation I would just go ahead and install, create, buy a background. Either the 'cheap' way of installing window film to black out the back with a color of my choice, or the more expensive way of having a custom 3d background made specific to this tank and overflow. As for size of overflow. The bigger the overflow the better the flow, BUT you can get away with a relatively small one. After all you were planning for lily pipes and think how small those are.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
If you want/need the backwall to be the location of the overflow then sad to say its not going to give you that clean aesthetic you want. If it were me and I was planning for that type of situation I would just go ahead and install, create, buy a background. Either the 'cheap' way of installing window film to black out the back with a color of my choice, or the more expensive way of having a custom 3d background made specific to this tank and overflow. As for size of overflow. The bigger the overflow the better the flow, BUT you can get away with a relatively small one. After all you were planning for lily pipes and think how small those are.
Could also hide much of the background with the scape. Looking at the Congo and many variants thereof, most of the background is hidden behind roots and plants anyway.

I've been looking at the ready-made overflows and it seems there are several decent options; Eshopss Eclipse L would probably be too small for a 1100L / 290 gal tank. Possibly the Synergy Reef Ghost 20" overflow would be best in size or the Modular Marine 3000gph one also looks very sleek. Any experience or thoughts on any of those?
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Just further thoughts around the overflow boxes:
  • Exotic Marine Systems: has horizontal instead of vertical slots in the inner box: good or bad? Looks the only system that does horizontal...
  • Eshopss Eclipse L: probably too small for 290gal tank?
  • Synergy Reef Ghost 20": some review say poor / cheap quality?
  • Modular Marine 3000gph: seems interesting, but it looks like not available at the moment...?
  • Fiji Cube 2400gph: also looks very sleek...

Any thoughts on one vs the other?
 

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Can anyone point me to a thread / build or a link that would show some nice well designed overflow that is not only functional but also minimalistic and clean-looking (in an ADA sense... clean glass, minimal intrusion into the aquarium etc.)? I'd really appreciate some pointers... I've spent hours googling but I can't find anything that I like in terms of aesthetics... :(
Here's my now gone Mbuna tank.



75 gallon tank with a standard interior overflow. This was hidden with a artificial wall. You can see the two sump return in the upper left and right. The intakes to the rear area, and hence into the overflow box then down below, are hidden in the rear wall.

The sump was a used, heavily modified 9 gallon sump sitting inside a 30 gallon tank. All the equipment was down below. I used a Herbie style overflow and it was 100% silent.

for the sump details.

I'm running a 75 gallon planted now and I sort of wish I went with a sump. Once we retire and move into our "forever" home we'll likely build a 250-300 gallon tank with a basement sump.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Sorry guys to keep going at this - but after lots more reading (and confusion) I am down to:

(a) Modular Marine: really nice design, internal and external overflow boxes at equal levels, seems to have good review (except for a few individual cases); has vertical slits i the weir - good or bad?

(b) Exotic Marine System: very very similar to Modular Marine, also internal and external units at equal levels, but has horizontal slits in the weir... they claim that this gives them much more surface area to skim and much less trickling water noise that one gets with vertical slits. They also say less impact for algae growth in the slits, reducing the flow further. I worry that these may be dangerous for some fish being sucked in, although other than cardinal tetras I have no other small fish in the tank and I have never seen those swim so close to the surface.

Any thoughts on the vertical vs horizontal slits?
 

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Regardless of whether you have horizontal or vertical slits, any fish that can fit in that overflow will find its way there. They will go for a ride and end up in your sump. Then you get the joy of netting them out ;P

Anyway most people put some sponge or other commercial guard in their overflow to prevent this behavior. I'd highly highly highly suggest asking whatever tank builder you settle on for their opinion on the creation/purchase of an overflow as they will definitely have an opinion as to what they use and have had success with before.
 

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Regardless of whether you have horizontal or vertical slits, any fish that can fit in that overflow will find its way there. They will go for a ride and end up in your sump. Then you get the joy of netting them out ;P

Anyway most people put some sponge or other commercial guard in their overflow to prevent this behavior.
exactly .. I have added a stainless mesh to protect it ... anyway i use to find shrimps in socks whenever I clean them.
 

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my wife also wants us to make some of the roots and plants grow out of the water - hence open top / rimless :)
rimless Is fine, but open won’t work ... unless you want to find some of your discus at the floor. Mine managed to escape as there was just 2.5cm gap between lids.

cover your tank!
 

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Discussion Starter #37
exactly .. I have added a stainless mesh to protect it ... anyway i use to find shrimps in socks whenever I clean them.
That's a good idea - I could probably attach a thin layer of stainless mesh on the inside of the overflow box - so it is not visible from the outside, but blocks creatures from being sucked through... thanks!

rimless Is fine, but open won’t work ... unless you want to find some of your discus at the floor. Mine managed to escape as there was just 2.5cm gap between lids.
cover your tank!
Thanks for the warning... I don't know... many people seem to have jumping discus. But I've had discus fish for ~30 years and except for one occasion in the past when they darted across the aquarium and jumped (and hit the head into the cover, which is what I have now) I've never had such a situation... back then, I know what happened - it was an ammonia crisis which caused the fish to go crazy.
What I'm thinking is to cover the tank with a net for the first couple of months after the new fish are in the new tank to get used to the environment and get "ownership" of their small pockets of space... after that I think it will be safe to remain open top. I've seen many discus aquarium with open top and with some exceptions most said they did not have issues with jumpers. I guess I'll have to try.
 

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Open top creates also another issue - evaporation. I have just sump open with 0.5m2 of surface and it ‘leaks’ around 6l per day, even if I have around 60% humidity in that room. Maybe some attached monstera are plants take a credit of missing water, but still it’s quite much.

In your case evaporator surface would be few times bigger.

Regarding jumpers ... I think if you go with euro braces in your tank, your discus would have less chances to jump out of the tank. Actually euro braces is only one reasonable way for your planned 2m long tank. For my 1.7m long tank I when for few transverse braces ... and it was not a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Open top creates also another issue - evaporation. I have just sump open with 0.5m2 of surface and it ‘leaks’ around 6l per day, even if I have around 60% humidity in that room. Maybe some attached monstera are plants take a credit of missing water, but still it’s quite much.
In your case evaporator surface would be few times bigger.
Regarding jumpers ... I think if you go with euro braces in your tank, your discus would have less chances to jump out of the tank. Actually euro braces is only one reasonable way for your planned 2m long tank. For my 1.7m long tank I when for few transverse braces ... and it was not a good idea.
For the evaporation I intend to have automatic water exchange and top-up in the sump; it was actually my intention to replace ~50L water each night and the refill would be automatic...

For the euro bracing - this is a good idea and several have suggested I should do this. I agree it would be most sensible thing to do - I just to not like the looks; much prefer the clean view of rimless open top. Will need to sleep on it a bit more... What makes you say your transverse braces were "not" a good idea for your 1.7m tank? What went wrong?
 

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Initially there were three than upgraded to four braces (20cm each), regardless of numbers they didn't hold it properly. It was second time they glue out and tank start to bowing when I have ordered stainless steel frame. after that I started sleep way better :)
1026445


top frame is painted on white and I really like its look. I think it looks even better than rimless.

without a frame
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with a frame
1026447
 
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