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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys,
I've been putting this off for way to long. This is my tank journal for the 10g tank I want to put up in the office. Main motivator at this point would be my desire to keep shrimp. My current tank at home has a clown loach in it, that seems to make this quite impossible ;)

I have not planed everything to the last detail so we'll make it up as we go along here.

Ok, lets start...

This is the empty 10g on my incredibly untidy workbench.



In the background you see my 29g that I am using as a holding tank for water changes for my 55g, just as a side note.

My plan for filtration in this tank is a Hamburger Mattenfilter. I know, some of you seem to be very skeptical about the advantages of such a filter, but for one: I have heard a ton of positive feedback on these and two: I want to try it... those are enough reasons for me ;)

I chose the far right corner to be my equipment corner that will house the powerhead and the heater behind the filter mat. Here is a picture of the loose foam cut to size (and mitre).




I then (a few weeks later) went to HD and bought a cheap piece of glass, a class cutter (twice the cost of the glass) and a cartridge of Silicone (GE I). I decided I didn't want the filter frame to show in the tank so I measured the glass frame to sit half way inside the foam, slitting the foam around the edges.

Here a picture of the glass frame being tacked together:



I failed to take a picture of the tank without the foam installed, just the frame and I don't want to take it in and out too many times, so here it is, already assembled:



A shot from the side, you can see the glass frame sticking into the side of the filter foam. Also the heater and the Rio 180 can be seen here.



For the spray bar, I had ordered (a while ago) some acrylic piping from Tap Plastics. Originally I wanted to bend some Lilly pipes for my 55g, but then changed my mind. I calculated the diameter of the small holes by taking the cross section of the pipe and dividing by the number of holes I wanted. I then took the next smaller drill as I want some pressure head in the spray bar. This will help getting all the holes to produce the same flow more or less.
For the end of the spray bar, I found a piece of acrylic in our machine shop that fits perfectly into the end. I don't even have to glue it I don't think ;)



I apologize, this is not a very clear shot :(



So this is how far I am right now:



The stuff on the floor is peet moss, I am planing on putting that under some pea gravel. Pea gravel is what I was planing on using, since I have a bucket full of it on my back porch.

My next bigger hurdle is a light fixture. I went to several different pet stores and couldn't find a fixture for a 10g. I thought that was odd and decided I want to build one. I'm not sure I still want to do that, as it is seriously holding up my progress. I'm a mechanical engineer and I get myself lost in the details of such an endeavor. Does anyone have any good suggestions? I don't want to use CO2, so lower light is what I am shooting for. My DIY fixture (only exists in my head at the moment) would have used two 14w CFLs 5500K. Is that too much? I am perfectly willing to dose every once in a while, but I don't want to setup a CO2 system in the office.



For my plants I am probably going to take some java fern out of my 55g. I recently traded for some mosses and some floaters (thanks down_shift ;)) that I also want to bring over as well. I am thinking of putting up a moss wall in front of the filter matt to try and mask it a little...


For fish, I will probably re-locate a few of my harlequin rasboras temporarily to help cycle, although I don't expect much of a cycle, as I will heavily seed with my existing filter. Otos and shrimp will in the end be the only inhabitants.

Ok I'm tired and need to go to bed...Comments are always welcome.
 

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Looks good so far!

What kind of Shrimp are you thinking?

My faves are:
Crystal Red
Crystal Black
Yellow
Green
Red Cherry
Tangerine
Blue Pearl
Black Tiger
Black Bees [I think...]
Snowball
Ghost...and I think that's it! lol... good luck on your tank and I hope it progresses well!

As for a light...a regualar 15W T8 fixture will do ok! They are made in 20"...but, if push comes to shove you can always search on the web for one...a better one or even thaat one. I have trouble finding lights myself and even more trouble convincing my parents I need them!...too bad it's my money! Well, off to work in a bit!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback! I was planing on regular Red Cherries for now.

I actually did break down today and stopped at a LFS and bought the All-Glass 15w T8 fixture with hood ;) I probably paid way too much for it, but if no one tells my wife, I'll be ok ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow,
This is really cool project. I've never even heard of a Hamburger Mattenfilter until now. Will it be tough to clean?
Thanks,

actually the idea of the HMF is, that you never have to clean it. At least that's the theory...

I will be away for a week now, so I may be slow to respond.
 

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Thanks,

actually the idea of the HMF is, that you never have to clean it. At least that's the theory...

I will be away for a week now, so I may be slow to respond.
I'm one of the critical folks about them. All the reviews I've read on them say something like "you never have to clean them until you have to clean them sometimes." :hihi:

My only real problem with the HMF is that people claim it's something other than a large sponge filter. We all know that sponge filters have some great benefits. They are one of the most effective biological filters, second only to a wet/dry, IMO.

I think I'm going to do an HMF on my 15 gallon, but I refuse to call it an HMF. It will be a VLSF. A very large sponge filter.
 

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HMF is a VERY different beast to a sponge filter. Especially the "sponge" filters we Americans pimp. Most sponge filters try to get all the water they can through the sponge to allow the MOST biofiltration possible. Sadly, this is completely backwards from the actual truth. The contact time required for bacteria to do their job, and the layer of mulm required for the HMF to do its job is just not possible with sponge filters. Even the air driven sponges have too much flow through them. The surface area of the HMF is what allows you to have a 2x turnover rate through the sponge while still allowing the water to pass through any given area of the sponge VERY slowly, allowing the bacteria to actually do their job.

You can get a LOT more technical than this about it, but I won't because I can't even remember the math behind it (it's made by German engineers, so there's a LOT of math) but the bad part about it is that in a heavily planted tank, it's just not that needed.

What it WON"T do (that sets it apart from sponge filters) is mechanical filtration. Sponges are the BEST at this job, but not so much in the biological catagory. (especially powerhead driven sponges) The HMF is just a terrible mechanical filter, which also makes it a fairly bad candidate (or at least not optimal) for most finicky planted tank owners. (myself included)

Anyone who has had a real, and by real I mean built with the correct math in mind, HMF in a tank for any amount of time will tell you that they do NOT need cleaning. By cleaning, I mean removing to squeeze out, as you would a sponge. If you think the mulm is unsightly, you can simply run your python over the outer edge of it to pull any matter you feel doesn't LOOK good to you, but it won't harm the filter or its capacity one way or the other. Most people simply turn the MHF into a moss wall and it'll still do its job just as well with the moss hiding the works. Great place to hide heaters, etc as well.

Keep this one updated. I'm anxious to see your design in action, as I've never seen one that split the sponge like that to hide the ugly seems. (well the seams would be ugly if I made it anyway lol)

*edit* if you make it an "American version" of a mattenfilter, like the WasserMattenFilter or some such (no offense to the DIY guru himself I love your plywood tanks lol) meaning you up the flow to accomodate the mechanical filtration needed, then yes. you've just made a big sponge filter. I'm talking about REAL mattenfilters designed and implemented as they were intended.
 

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http://www.janrigter.nl/mattenfilter/

*edit* left the link, removed the snarky comment. My apologies to the OP for thread ganking. The link, however, is a great read for all. Especially those who either haven't heard of, or do not fully understand the HMF.
 

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http://www.janrigter.nl/mattenfilter/

*edit* left the link, removed the snarky comment. My apologies to the OP for thread ganking. The link, however, is a great read for all. Especially those who either haven't heard of, or do not fully understand the HMF.
That's exactly how I'm going to set up my VLSF. I'm just going to do it without saying dopey things like biological filtration is superior to mechanical filtration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think I bought a RIO180. On paper this pump has quite a bit too much flow for the calculations, but I am going to throttle it down some with a small valve on the outflow that came with the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am slowly creeping up to the move...
I added some root tabs and gravel last night. My other tank is completely overgrown after a week out of the country, and I am planing on throwing a bunch of plants into the new tank to help with cycling the filter. I also plan on preserving a bunch of filter sludge when I finally clean it and throw it in at the first fill.

What do you guys think? Should I get some zebra danios initially? Or do you think harlequin rasboras are "hearty" enough. I could borrow those from the 55g at home. I was thinking about 5 of them...

Once the cycle is complete I wanted to grab 3 otos and order 20 cherry red shrimp. I have not decided if the harlequins would then go back or just stay...

The hardest part is now to clean up my office enough so I can move some furniture ;)
 

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Hoggard, excellent DIY!!

I see you bought the glass and cutter from HD! I actually have that pencil like glass cutter!! You could've borrowed it! I used it cut a glass top for one of my tanks. Took a good bit of practice to get it perfect though.

I think your filtration will be very shrimp friendly. No shrimp kiddies will get sucked into the filter.

You can try one of those 27w hampton lights over the tank? If it's in your office, it should look pretty normal to have a desktop lamp.

Will you have a cover over this tank?
I need to stop by to check it out when it's ready!
 

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Oh and if you are trying to look for a CFL or plant fixture locally, you're better off picking up one used off the SnS or buying one online. Alot cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Matt, I actually bought a standard hood for a 10g a couple of weeks ago. I want to keep this tank low light so this should be enough light... 15w at 6500K...

I also managed to spend a lunch break re-arranging my office. Now I have the space, but I still need to reinforce the filing cabinet that I want to put the tank on. A 3/4" ply wood cover should be sturdy enough...
 

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I'm had pretty good experience with the regular hoods. I have a 10g with 2 27w cfl spiral bulbs in the hood. It grows the floaters/moss/ferns just fine!

That's crazy you redid your office during lunch break. I wonder what everyone thought!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Most people here know that I re-arranged my office to make room for a small fish tank. They still think I'm crazy, but they understand ;)

The 3/4" plywood cover for the filing cabinet is cut, and the spray paint on it is drying. I think tomorrow or Monday I'll bring the tank.

Still need to get little thing like a powerstrip and a timer for the lights. I'll go do that right now...
 
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