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My 240gal square tank journal: Take 2!

42335 Views 159 Replies 47 Participants Last post by  sdaley6999
I have been planning a large tank in the 240 to 400 gal range for about six months now. During that time I had contacted just about every custom acrylic tank builder I could find on the net to get quotes. I also spent ALOT of time on ReefCentral looking in the 'For Sale' section and reading the journals in the 'Large Reef Tank' section.

I had originally planned to get an 8ft long tank and finish a room in my basement to house it. Then about 2 weeks ago I stumbled upon a 48" x 48" x 25.5" acrylic tank for sale 10 minutes from my house. The tank was brand new, still in the shipping crate. After a little negotiating, we agreed on a price and I picked up the tank Nov 23rd. With this square tank I have decided to put it in my first floor den. I will be reinforcing the floors to handle roughy 2800 lbs this thing will weigh.

Heres a run down of what the setup will consist of:

48"x48"x25.5" acrylic tank made by The tank is made of 1" thick acrylic on the front, sides, and the the top brace. It has a 3/4" thick back panel and 1/2" thick bottom panel. The overflow box is 24"x5" and drilled for two 1.5" bulkheads. The top is completely open except for the 3" wide eurobrace.

Wood Rectangle Gas Hardwood Font
Wood Rectangle Gas Packing materials Hardwood
Shipping box Wood Package delivery Relocation Floor
Wood Musical instrument accessory Flooring Gas Automotive exterior

I have three 175w Hamilton MH bell pendants. May try and only use two if I can get them up high enough over the tank to get decent light coverage.

The tank will be filtered by a full Pentair Lifegard setup which will consist of a triple mechanical module, two triple chemical modules, a triple heater module, and a 40w UV module. I picked up all but the heater module used on eBay for a total of $100 shipped. I have two Pan World 100PX-X pumps that I got with the tank. Not sure if I'll be able to use them with the Pentair modules or not. Still a BIG gray area.

I will be using a 20lb CO2 tank with Milwaukee regulator and a mazzei venturi to dissolve the CO2.

I have 4 bags of charcoal Soil Master Select.

I have purchased a large quantity of Manzanita from Badcopnofishtank on this forum that is currently soaking in a 55gal barrel. I also hope to buy some Seiryu stone (or something with a similar look) in the near future. My plan right now is for a planted peninsula that would come out from the overflow box and there would be about 1ft of open space around the 3 sides. That may all change when I get further along though.

I had originally planned on making this a discus tank, but now I think I'm going to go with angels, possibly Altums if I can find them. I also want to have around 10 German blue rams, a large school of rummynose tetras, and some cories and maybe dwarf crayfish to keep the bottom clean. I'm definitely open to suggestions on what to stock this thing with though. Let me know what you would do.

Well that's all I can think of right now.

I'm open to any and all suggestions as the build progresses. I'd love to hear your feedback, whether it be positive or negative. Fire away with your questions as well. I'll do my best to answer them.

Thanks for looking and hope you all enjoy the build.

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Oh it's a lovely looking tank!

How are you going to reinforce the floors?
*drools* Can't wait to see it set up!
Wowza! A great challenge and a super unique footprint - what a find! You can do ENDLESS things with a tank like that, the hard part is deciding where to start :)

Subscribed :proud:
Tropicalfish: To reinforce the floors I was planning to double up all the floor joists and then install 2x10's running perpendicular to the existing joists. Then I'll use four metal posts running from the 2x10's to the floor at each corner.

mrkookm: Sorry, the pump should have been listed as a 100PX-X. Fixed my original post. The pump and filtration is still a BIG gray area right now. I bought the Pentair modules before I found the tank. The guy I bought the tank from basically gave me the pumps for free. I know that one will not work to power all the modules. I thought of breaking the modules up and using both pumps or more than likely just buy a better/bigger pump and sell the Pan Worlds. Have alot of research still to do in this area.

Anyone using the Pentair modules? Whats your setup and what pump are you using?

Jen: Your right about the endless possibilites and the where to start statement. Since I had originally planned an 8ft long tank, this new footprint has completely thrown me for a loop. First step is getting the stand built and then hopefully things will start to fall in place a little. Alot of research and work, but it should be fun!

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Ok...I need some advice on how to plumb the tank using the internal overflow and the Pentair filter modules.

I am researching different types of standpipes (Durso, Stockman, etc) and am getting confused on how they apply to a closed system like I would have using the Pentair modules. With the Durso standpipes, a hole is drilled in the cap on top to adjust the amount of flow through the pipe to match the amount of water being pumped out of the sump. I also understand the idea is to maintain a high water level in the overflow to minimize the noise associated with the water falling into it.

With the Pentair modules I will be using, I think I really only need a pipe to use to siphon the water out of the overflow (no flow control required). Can I just use a Durso style standpipe without drilling the hole in the top? Again, I would keep the water level as high as possible to limit the noise.

The other issue I have is how to deal with the return and get enough flow throughout the tank. I am trying to keep all the plumbing concealed within the overflow and avoid having to drill any holes in the bottom of the tank if possible. I guess my initial plan is to attach a DIY pvc manifold to the 2nd bulkhead from which I would run loc-line to return nozzels mounted thru holes drilled in the overflow box. That way I could adjust the nozzles to different areas of the tank. Hope that makes sense (probably doesn'

Anyways...any advice on how to handle the plumbing on this thing would be greatly appreciated.

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I think Aquaman's 110 gallon topic has some very good pictures of his overflow setup.
:drool: This is going to be amazing. I hope to learn a lot from watching this progress.
Are you doing a sump or a closed loop system?

Sweet find, lotza possibilities! :thumbsup:
Are you doing a sump or a closed loop system?
It will be a closed loop with Pentair Lifegard modules.
Ok, that's what I thought, but somewhere I got the impression that there might be a sump involved here.

I may be wrong, but I don't think on a closed loop system--you need any standpipes, or even over-flows for that matter. Its kind of like a fancy canister filter is all. The flow will reach a flow equilibrium in and out--as long as there's enough water in the system--the out portion shouldn't suck air or make any noise.

At power off---everything is just going to come to a stand still just like with a canister filter. Power on, flow equilibrium and its back in business.

Anybody feel free to tell me what I missing.......
Naja002: Thanks for the response. I know you don't need overflows, but I have a built in overflow in the tank and I am trying to figure out how to best plumb the tank to make use of it. I need to draw water out of the overflow into the closed loop and my thinking was that I would still need a standpipe in order to keep the water level high enough in the overflow to keep the system quiet.

Here's a picture from the back of the tank showing the overflow setup:

Automotive exterior Bumper Automotive design Gas Vehicle door

My thinking was to use a standpipe like the one shown that had its inlet 1 to 2 inches below the slots in the overflow. Then I would use the other bulkhead as the return and use a manifold to direct water to different nozzles mounted on the overflow box. The manifold would be concealed inside the overflow box.
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Hi Greg,

Basically, you just need to put a strainer on the drain bulkhead (yep, way down there!) and keep the water quantity in the system up to keep the overflow full. Depending on the power of the loop--it may create a vortex and if everything is too powerful it may make noise. But I don't see why you would want/need a setup that powerful.

Just think of it as a big fancy canister filter.....:thumbsup:
OK....I get it now. Was making this all more complicated than it needs to be. The idea of the standpipe is to keep the water level in the overflow high when using a sump. Since my system would be a closed loop the water level would be dependent on how much water I kept in the system and thus would be as high as I wanted it to be.

Thinking of it as a fancy canister filter makes sense. Thanks for clearing that

As you can already probably tell, I will be working through all my problems in this thread as well as sharing all my mistakes. Don't want to hide anything. Hopefully it will help others avoid the mistakes I make in this process. :thumbsup:
Bingo, you got it. With the standpipe there's only going to be 1-2" of water v. 20" with a strainer--so with the standpipe it will be much easier for the system to start sucking air--which you definitely don't want, plus it makes all the racket.

One problem with the closed loop and built in overflow is that you will need to watch your water level. Evaporation is going to show in the overflow. Too much and the system will start sucking air. Shouldn't be a big problem on a tank that size, but its good to know in advance! :thumbsup:

Anyone using the Pentair modules? Whats your setup and what pump are you using?
I am using a Pentair module, although my aquarium is considerably smaller at 110 gallons. I use a Poseidon PS2 pump. There seems to be considerable head loss through the unit, so plan accordingly. There is a link to my setup in my signature with entensive photos.

I would recommend using a sump, but if you are going to do a true closed loop, make sure you have a full proof way to preload the pump intake, otherwise you are going to severely shorten the pump life at the very least. As Naja002 mentioned, if you are going to use the overflows to preload the pump, evaporation will be a large concern. In my much smaller system, I can see multiple gallons of water evaporation per day. If that water volume is coming out of your overflow only, I expect you will have to be adding water regularly, or have something automated to do so.

Very nice aquarium btw!
Glad to see you decided on the cube :thumbsup:

I'm not sure how far you are from 7 Caves (Bainbridge area if I remember right) but I went there a few times and there is some local stone that is fabulous looking. (I grew up in the Cincinnati area)
Something you need to be cognizant of when you're buying a pump is energy consumption. The wrong pump can cost you $40-50 a MONTH more than a better sized pump (smaller) that is more efficient. The pump should be the last thing you purchase after calculating head loss from gravity and head loss from all your filtration components and friction loss form the piping.
Another question about your floors...
Is this on the ground floor? If it is, I don't see how there is a need to reinforce the floors...
Because my house is directly on the foundation... I don't see how that can be reinforced.
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