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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you have seen I am currently building a ~290gal planted tank for discus and intending the scape to be inspired by Josh Sim's 2017 IAPLC winning "Congo" aquascape. Precise measurements of the tank are 95" L x 25" W x 27" H (schemes below are drawn with exact proportions and I've already drafted in an approximate layout of the hardscape (black) and possible positioning of the outflow pipes (purple). I will have a 32" wide Exotic Marine Systems overflow box installed (as shown in the scheme below). The return pump from the sump will be Red Dragon 3 with 100W power and ~3200gph flow, so plenty enough.
In order to plan the drilling of the tank, I now need to think about the most appropriate positioning of the return pipes in order to have the appropriate water circulation in the tank.
In the second picture below I was just "imagining" how a water flow might look like from three outflows, but I have no idea how the water would actually behave...
Any suggestions with the tank that large, what would be the ideal positioning of the outflow pipes? Equally spread like this, or more on one end to create a more horizontal-like flow? Should I use some additional powerheads for moving the water around the tank? What about airstones? I would prefer not to use them - they are noisy and I assume not helpful in retaining CO2? Any other suggestions / ideas regarding setting up the tank so it receives appropriate water flow and minimal possible dead spots?
Any help much appreciated!

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are you planning something like that?

1027163

would be really great to see a progress.
keep I mind that those tanks in general have very low bio load - so doesn’t require much flow nor high oxygen.

oh ... I realized from different post that you want to add discus there. It changes a lot. High oxygen is definitely required either by air stone or heavy surface movement.

An oxygen probe should help you to answer your concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
are you planning something like that?

View attachment 1027163
would be really great to see a progress.
keep I mind that those tanks in general have very low bio load - so doesn’t require much flow nor high oxygen.

oh ... I realized from different post that you want to add discus there. It changes a lot. High oxygen is definitely required either by air stone or heavy surface movement.

An oxygen probe should help you to answer your concerns.
Hi @pablos, yes - this one is the idea I am trying to imitate. It will not be as dense (we need to give discus space to swim around) but it will try to follow the concept...
I guess airstones would also add to the water flow and further reduce possible dead spots, but (a) would airstones not agitate the surface too much and contribute to lots of CO2?, and (b) I do not like airstones because they are loud - I could maybe put them on timer to turn on at night when people sleep. But at night also fish sleep and I am not sure if airstones would be a nuisance to them as well. Alternatively I could add airstones to the sump - this would aerarte water (and still possibly loose CO2) but at least not agitate fish.
Any thoughts?
 

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You might dissolves more than 400ppm gasses in water. it means you have plenty of space and having high level of CO2 can go together with high O2.

For O2 you are limited by temperature and max what you can get it’s 6-7ppm (pressure and salinity takes a role there as well). With CO2 you’re limited by fish mortality by 30ppm.

from bottom limits in 1-2ppm of oxygen your fish would die, with CO2 less than 10ppm your plants would suffer.

Moreover high level of CO2 reduces the ability of a fish's blood to transport oxygen, so you have to target high O2.

High surface move, additional surface in sump, baffles would reduce your CO2 level for sure, but worse can happen you need to add more bubbles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Any other thoughts regarding the water flow? I will soon need to give detailed instruction to the aquarium maker regarding the position and number of holes they will need to drill for the return pipes. I still have no idea how the water would actually behave in such a long tank, so I really appreciate as much input here as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Has anyone seen these Innovitech nozzles for the returns? Seems like an interesting idea... clearly marketed for marine, but could be interesting in terms of water flow also for freshwater?
 

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Please let me know how it’s in practice... however I would not expect fireworks. It’s just a nozzle
 

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Just my opinion from owning an 8ft reef tank a while back, I think the flow results depicted in your drawings will result in a more chaotic flow more appropriate for a reef versus a planted tank. The placement of your long overflow has to be considered also.

And regarding where to drill holes, are you ordering a so called Euro braced tank, meaning the top has a 4" glass rim around the inside perimeter? In that case, you dont have to use all the holes you could drill, so I would drill more holes so you have options. A wide flow power head such as those made by Tunze or Ecotech would be much better than air stones. Youll get the adjustability you need.

My suggestion is a circular flow with your outlets along the back pushing across the back of the tank and down, put a ball valve on each one. Then a wide mouth pump mounted in the left or right top front corner pushing across the entire 8 foot length, above the plants. An alternative if it doesnt affect your aesthetics is to drill in the front corners and run pvc and more outlets to the front.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks @mboley for your advise... I'm not sure I got the idea fully, so I tried to sketch quickly... sorry for not the best style, but I hope it gets the message across;
the return pipes (outflow) are the two red dots; both positioned so that they encourage leftwards downward flow (blue water flow)... there are two more pumpheads (purple) helping to further support the flow; water once reaching the left is circulating upward and returning (yellow) on the surface back to the skimmer. This would then be more of a directional flow hopefully? I can sketch this but I have no idea if this would work so in reality.
This would be much much preferred way of installation for me as well - I have a glass sliding door on the left half of the tank so being able to NOT DO any plumbing there would be ideal as it would allow me to push the tank closer to the wall... all the plumbing would then be on the right hand of the aquarium.
Would this work???
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks @mboley for your advise... I'm not sure I got the idea fully, so I tried to sketch quickly... sorry for not the best style, but I hope it gets the message across;
the return pipes (outflow) are the two red dots; both positioned so that they encourage leftwards downward flow (blue water flow)... there are two more pumpheads (purple) helping to further support the flow; water once reaching the left is circulating upward and returning (yellow) on the surface back to the skimmer. This would then be more of a directional flow hopefully? I can sketch this but I have no idea if this would work so in reality.
This would be much much preferred way of installation for me as well - I have a glass sliding door on the left half of the tank so being able to NOT DO any plumbing there would be ideal as it would allow me to push the tank closer to the wall... all the plumbing would then be on the right hand of the aquarium.
Would this work???
View attachment 1027370
Just bumping this thread... I will need to give drill instructions to the manufacturer of the tank... any thoughts around this design of the return pipes (marked red) to create a more linear - river-like flow?
 

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I would worry about trying to direct the flow down and along the bottom of the tank from one side to the other. It seems like you might have more success directing it out of returns all along the back, straight out toward the front glass. Let it tumble down the glass in the open space at the front of the tank and then back into the scape along the substrate. Trying to have it flow along the bottom, right to left through complex hardscape seems like a recipe for unpredictable flow patterns and dead spots.
 

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I would worry about trying to direct the flow down and along the bottom of the tank from one side to the other. It seems like you might have more success directing it out of returns all along the back, straight out toward the front glass. Let it tumble down the glass in the open space at the front of the tank and then back into the scape along the substrate. Trying to have it flow along the bottom, right to left through complex hardscape seems like a recipe for unpredictable flow patterns and dead spots.
I completely agree with this. Your best bet would be to get the water flow across the surface from back to front. The water will hit the front glass, travel down the glass, and back into the scape from front to back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would worry about trying to direct the flow down and along the bottom of the tank from one side to the other. It seems like you might have more success directing it out of returns all along the back, straight out toward the front glass. Let it tumble down the glass in the open space at the front of the tank and then back into the scape along the substrate. Trying to have it flow along the bottom, right to left through complex hardscape seems like a recipe for unpredictable flow patterns and dead spots.
I completely agree with this. Your best bet would be to get the water flow across the surface from back to front. The water will hit the front glass, travel down the glass, and back into the scape from front to back.

OK, I think I get the idea... would 2 outlets - right and middle, positioned somewhere near the top, be sufficient, or would I need a 3rd positioned also on the left side? ...I am wondering though... if I position the current this way, how does the water then mix up in terms of surface dynamics where eventually it is being sucked into the overflow... so from the outlets in the back to the front glass, positioned at an angle so it moves more downward and circles back... (a) what is the surface flow and (b) how do we take care of the left side of the aquarium if we want to avoid having pipes there due to the sliding glass door behind the aquarium?
 

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OK, I think I get the idea... would 2 outlets - right and middle, positioned somewhere near the top, be sufficient, or would I need a 3rd positioned also on the left side? ...I am wondering though... if I position the current this way, how does the water then mix up in terms of surface dynamics where eventually it is being sucked into the overflow... so from the outlets in the back to the front glass, positioned at an angle so it moves more downward and circles back... (a) what is the surface flow and (b) how do we take care of the left side of the aquarium if we want to avoid having pipes there due to the sliding glass door behind the aquarium?
There’s no need to point them downward. When the water hits the front glass, there’s nowhere for it to go but down.

As for the left side, you can have a nozzle pointed toward that corner. As a matter of fact, the way you had it in your first pic would work. Just don't point the nozzles down, have them pointed straight out or slightly upward. The idea is to have a slight surface ripple while the water current crosses the tank. If you could have a slight ripple over the entire surface, that would be ideal.

I would also plan on having your outlet pipes close to the surface of the water, not a few inches below like you had in your pic.

Watch through this video to get an idea of what I'm talking about. There is a ton of really great information in this, but the section that talks about this specifically starts at around 6:20.

Optimizing CO2 in a planted tank - Additional notes on gaseous exchange - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I posted this also in my main journal thread, but since I had this separate discussion I will post it here as well:
Good news! We had a family meeting regarding this sliding glass door behind the future tank and general consensus was reached: the door is going out!
So: we now have much more manoeuvring space in terms of plumbing!!
I think it is best now to go back towards a more standard positioning of things - overflow box in the center and the returns on each side of the tank.
BIG QUESTION: do I need to drill and make classical return pipes with ugly plastic outflows or can I instead use two sets of the larger sized glass lily pipes instead?
I saw lily pipes from JARDLI on Amazon that are 20mm for 3/4" ID (19/25mm) Tubing; two sets of these with a Red Dragon 80W pump pushing the water I think these should be more than capable of handling ~600gph each with 1200gph combined flow? ...I also saw GreenAqua had their own glass work offering a 26mm lily pipe but they are pricing it as much as ADA... What do you guys think? Is this a possibility?
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Those Jardli pipes work well, I use them on one of my tanks and they widen and soften the flow, which is good. I would use those versus drilling the back of your tank below the water line.

Some posters above advocate pointing your outlets back to front, bouncing the water down the front glass. The problem with that as I see it is detritus accumulating along the back of your tank, where it is more difficult to vacuum up.

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