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Discussion Starter #1
So, this weekend, I"ll start plumbing my tank. I'm concerned about getting this thing right the first time.
Some background to start:
I have a Sunsun canister rated at 265gph. Tests by others show that this number isn't too exaggerated either. The top of the tank however is about 5.5 feet (the stand is also secured to a stud in the wall), and the filter is not going to be but a few inches off the floor. That may effect flow, but it doesn't make sense to me as to how.
There will be an inline household-water-filter-canister-CO2 reactor, and then a Hydor 300W inline heater.
I intend to run 3/4 PVC into the cabinet with ball valves, and only have the soft tubing for the short stretch into the filter.

Now, I'm concerned about circulation in this tank. I've searched and found a few-well, one-threads about the effects of a DIY spraybar on circulation, but nothing concerning a tank of this shape. It's 20" wide, 18" deep, 30" tall. It's basically a tall square.



The bottom will be covered with a ground cover. I think I like dwarf hair grass for that. I'm soaking a pretty large piece of Malaysian DW for the center piece that will ascend to ~2" from the water surface. I'd like some slightly larger plants around the base of that, then some rather tall plants in the back to hide the (hopefully) only two things that I have to stick over the edge and into the tank--the filter intake and output.

So far through my research, I've concluded that a vertical spraybar would be best, and to place it in the (from the front) back left corner, and have it spray into the glass slightly across the back. The spraybar will have several holes in it, all in a line that span the entire length of the PVC. (I assume it's OK to paint PVC.)

The intake would be on the opposite side of the back in the corner too. I think I"ll put it on a table saw and cut vertical slits along it's length to allow water to enter with as little restriction as possible. I will only have small fish. the smaller the better, so maybe it would be a good idea to wrap it in a 'prefilter' to avoid anyone getting sucked up, or stuck!

Other things I'm concerned about that could/should effect the design.
1. Large tank volume, small surface area for degassing. I don't intend to follow the 1"/Galllon rule here. I'll only have about 8-10 small schooling fish, and maybe a few ottos or corys.
2. CO2 during the day and--if absolutely necessary--an air pump during the night so nobody suffocates... but, only if necessary.
3. I'm trying to keep it quiet.

I'd like to run this by you guys/gals as I value your experience. What should I look out for now while putting this part of the tank together? What problems might I encounter later on buy doing it this way? What were your first impressions when you read this--what am it missing?

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
Many thanks!
 

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Not an expert on painting PVC, but I'd opt for black PVC before painting. Even if safe, paint will eventualy flake off.

Biggest challenge you may have is getting adequate light down 30" to groundcover.

If you need to circulate air over night, understand that you can buy the smallest possible air pump for that purpose. ANY pump puts out enough to run an airstone adequately, so buy small and high-quality to reduce noise.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the pump advice. I was stressing out over that the other day. I bought a Rena 200. I think it's only rated for a 30 gal (12" to 15" depth?). On their website, they didn't mention depth specifically, or air volume. I'd only power a single stone probably.
Do you think that they made a typo on their website: HERE where they list the sound of the 200 as the only one that's > (above) 30 dB? I noticed that for the 50, 100, 200 the 'watts' rating is the same for each but yet they each increase in output. Are they merely running the motor faster? Then for the 300, watts go up and again for each successive model thereafter. What I'm thinking is: the first three models are the same on the factory line, but the 100 runs a little faster than the 50, and the 200 even faster. that's why the 200 is rated as the only one >30dB. Then the next models up are actually larger parts inside.
The 200 cost me $40 i think.
 

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Depth is the problem with an air pump. Test it at the depth you need. It will probably wimp out if you put it all the way to the bottom. I would go with a power head, instead. More water movement, less sound, less watts. Put it near the bottom, and aim it at the opposite top. A small Koralia (maybe a 2) might be all you need. Just enough to give the water a little more of a ripple.

I used Krylon Fusion for PVC, and it is holding up pretty well, though I think the Plecos are gradually stripping it off. Lightly sand the PVC to get rid of the gloss before you paint it.

I have not had good luck circulating water in a tank that is so tall and narrow, I finally gave up and made it into a paludarium. The finer the screen over the intake the more debris it will trap right there at the intake. Go with LOTS of thin slots in the pipe, and this will reduce the force of the water flow at any one slot, less chance of a small fish getting stuck.

Your canister will lose some flow to the length of the plumbing.
 

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Wish I could help you, but I don't know much about air pumps. One thng I can tell you is that the sound of the bubbles reaching the surface is louder than my pump, which is inside the cabinet. Before I downsized my pump, the first was creating so many bubbles that the noise was annoyingly loud and the splashes from popping bubbles a real nuisance.

Didn't anticipate that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been eyeing the Koralia pumps recently. I thought it would be necessary to get circulation to any dead spots. Once I decided on a vertical spray bar I thought that problem would be solved and put off buying the koralia (I've never seen on of these in action and would have bought the smallest one--400 gph seams like plenty to me) at least until I verified that there was a dead spot in the tank.
I never considered the possibility of using it to de-gas the co2.
I like that idea better than using an air pump. Is it something I'd run all day, or just when the co2 is off?
I think I'll need a relatively short photo period, at least at first. I have a 150W Metal Halide lamp in the canopy for the plants that will be on a timer. We'll see how that works out. Some have suggested a 175W MH for the depth. Still though, the footprint of this tank is only 360 square inches.
Is the koralia 2 your suggestion? If you say go, I"ll get it before the rest on my student loan runs out!
Oh, and there's also a 14 watt 8000K T8 in the canopy that I can turn on/off with a switch so I can take a peak whenever I want w/o having to warm up the MH or tinkering with the timer to show off the fish.
The PVC i bought today has a flat finish. It was also cheaper than the glossy stuff. I think it'll paint well. I'll start with about 15 holes. I guess I should start with 1/8"? that seems so small to me. So, considering 1/8" holes, is 15 a good number, or is this something i'll have to come up with through trial an error. I know each application is different, but if someone has a similar gph filter, I"d like to know what you settled on. (how many, and what size)
Thanks again!
Also, your thoughts on my lighting setup... am I way off here? I have an odyssea fixture, and a used ARO ballast. The bulb now is 15000K, but will be replaced once I actually have something green in the tank. I guess I should go with the 6700K although, i really like the look of the 8000-10000K lamps. It's and HQI mount it that makes any difference.
 

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Koralias are nice. SEIO has a nice pump as well that can rotate quite a bit and therefore reduces its intrusion into the tank. However, in a tall tank like this you may want to introduce air into the tank too. Surface area is pretty small compared to the volume of the tank. Depends a bit on how heavily you stock, but I'd say it would be beneficial.

You don't have to turn the pump on as soon as the lights go out. If noise is an issue where this tank is located, you can set your timer to delay the air pump until you're off to bed.

For lights, I think you're fine with what you have. If I recall, they include the ranges that you need, just have whiter light than many prefer. That's a personal choice. Intensity to deliver adequate light 30" own to the substrate is the bigger challenge. You can try the 150watt to try and save cost, but if carpet growth is minimal you may want to move to the 175.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You can try the 150watt to try and save cost, but if carpet growth is minimal you may want to move to the 175.
I considered the 175W MH. the only 175W bulbs that reputable companies made were available in a mogul base only. I have an HQI mount in my fixture, that I think I could easily modify to fit a 175W bulb into (I guess they are larger?), but the only 175W HQIs that are available are from eBay. I wanted to stick with HQI for the size. That helped me to justify staying with the 150W. I replaced the ballast though with an ARO unit that states it will also work with a 175W, but they say it must be a mogul based light if you want to power a 175.

That and the fact that I have only 20 X 18 inches of ground to light.... How big of a difference is a few inches of water really? In an open space I think brightness is inversely proportional to the distance from the source, but do the aquarium's sides not do a pretty effective job on containing the light? I"m not saying that I know, but I wonder.

A mogul light, I think, is too large for the space I have in the canopy. If there's poor growth I'll have to think of something, but I should first try the setup I have now.

I haven't bought the new bulb yet though.
Is there going to be a difference in the way a 6700K lamp and a 10000K lamp affect the plants?
I'm looking at the coralife HERE and those are my choices. I heard both things: that a 6700K bulb is a "plant" light, and that the higher K bulbs still produce light in the correct spectrum for growth.
If that is so, then why is it recommended that we use 6700K bulbs for planted tanks?

Thanks for your time. please let me know what you guys think.

Oh, and wow! I'm having a heck of a time finding all the parts to put together my barr/griggs reactor! I'm using 5/8" ID tubing. so maybe that's my problem. I was at Lowe's today for an hour, and finally gave up, threw all my pieces in a bucked and left. :icon_roll
 

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An air bubbler does not add air to the tank. Very little of the bubbles actually dissolve in the water, most of them break at the surface.
It increases the water movement, dragging some of the water from the bottom to the top, then adding some rippling at the top that increases gas exchange.

You can move more water with less watts with a pump.

The most efficient way to move water for gas exchange is to have a pump at the bottom center that intakes the water from horizontally along the bottom and pumps the water straight up. But who wants a pump centered in the aquascape?

Therefore my suggestion of a power head like one of the Koralia series set as low in the tank as possible, and aimed up and toward the opposite side or corner. This is one of the most efficient series of power heads in terms of watts per gallons moved.

It is as close to totally quiet as any pump. Moving air is noisy, even hiding the pump in the cabinet.

The flow of water spreads out, is not a strong, straight shot as is common with most other power heads. I am not sure which one will do the job here, that is a very tall tank. Probably the 2, maybe the 3. I would time it to go on at lights out, then turn off when the CO2 comes on. The goal is to increase the O2 in the water for the fish during the night. With this tall tank I think it will really help.

The larger ones can look a bit intrusive, but the smaller ones can be somewhat hidden behind a rock or branch of driftwood. Gotta leave some of it out to aim the water where you want it to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I just bought the SEIO pump. It seams to have the most flexibility in mounting options. The only way to get the Koralia mounted to direct water up along the back would be to mount it on the side-which I don't want to do-or on the bottom which they say not to do.
The SEIO also has the option to adjust the flow rate. Since Dr. Foster likely won't send me all the Koralias and let me test them out, I figured the SEIO would be the safest bet.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I appreciate it.

The rena air pump showed up today. It pumps air all the way down to the bottom just as well as it did just a few inches from the surface. I didn't however have a stone on it, just an open air line. That thing was quiet too, practically silent. Well for five minutes least. Then it sounded just like the $5 rubber cube I used on my 20G 13 years ago. I thought maybe it had vibrated itself up against something. Nope. I wrapped it up in a towel and it still sounded like a Honda Civic w/o a muffler.
As it turns out, maybe 30 inches is too deep. well, that doesn't make any sense. I had to adjust it with the knob to keep it from spewing too many bubbles which could be done in a smaller tank as well. Depth of the tank is a moot point (unless you want to run 50 air stones at 30") as long as there's an 'adjustment' knob. It can be adjusted to completely shut off all outflow of air. I guess what i'm saying is that RENA can't say it's overheating or something b/c its in too deep of a tank.

Edit: So I'm not spreading false information, the RENA quieted down after I ran it for a few more hours. It's been running all day today, and is pretty quiet now. Although, it is still wrapped up in a towel.
 
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