Because I can... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-14-2010, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Because I can...

So a couple months ago I realized a few truths regarding my aquarium dreams and reality. Firstly, my current 60 gallon tank is over stocked and I donít want to get rid of any of the fish/inverts in it. Second, the floor of my apartment would more than likely fail in the long term under the weight of the 120 to 180 gallon tank Iíve been wanting. Thirdly, itís been too long since I had some wild half cocked project to keep me busy and solving the problem of an over stocked tank seemed perfect.

Obviously the first thing I wanted to do was increase the total volume of the water column as well as increase the bio-filtration of the overall system. After a couple days I resolved to link a couple tanks together with overflow boxes and a return pump. As it turns out, not as easy as I had thoughtÖbut still fun!

What I ended up doing is this: The 60 gallon tank overflows in to a 600gps overflow box and drains through about 30 feet of 1.5 inch ID flex tube into a 40 gallon tank across the room in front of a south facing window.

The 40 gallon tank had water hyacinth growing on the surface and a few starter plants growing in the gravel. Thereís a reverse flow under gravel filter as well powered by a maxi-jet 900 power head and filtering through 75 lbs of gravel. The 40 gallon tank spills into another 600gps overflow box and flows through about 10 feet of 1.5 inch ID flex tube into a 20 gallon tank.

There are a few starter plants in there as well, but the new lights havenít come in yet for it so only the flame moss is doing well in there. Thereís another overflow box as well that drains into a 5 gallon bucket sump with an overflow drain pipe leading to a downstairs sink. The sump has a maxi-jet 900 return power head to keep the whole setup topped off. The 20 gallon tank has a maxi-jet 1200 pump to push water into an Eheim canister filter and then returns the water to the 60 gallon tank. The estimated total water volume of the tanks, sump and water line is about 140 gallons and each tank has its own heater for a total of 700watts between them.

So far so goodÖthe water hyacinth are blooming off and on and the rest of the plants are flourishing. The fish, shrimp and snails all seem happy as well. The nitrate levels have dropped from almost 15ppm to just 5ppm. I donít know the rest of the water parameters as I havenít done regular testing in years and the nitrate test was the only one I could locateÖIíll get new test kits for the rest soonish. The only unexpected thing really is the loss of about 2 gallons of water a day. There are no leaks (I've triple checked) so it must be between evaporation and cats drinking the water out of the 40 gallon...apparently they prefer fish flavored water to the plain water in the fountain/filter bowl I got them.

Thoughts, questions, comments, ideas?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-14-2010, 11:21 PM
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thats amazing...i am still trying to grasp how you are runing a 30 foot line from one tank to the other...i wish i could see it in person...are there any pics of the overflows in the back...

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post #3 of 8 Old 10-15-2010, 06:34 AM
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Nice! I love seeing how creative some of you folks can get. Great job.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-15-2010, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks :)

Badxgillen - I'll get pics of the overflow boxes and tubing in here soon...I took some pics today but still need to chop 'em down to size and upload 'em.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-16-2010, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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As promised, pics of the overflow boxes...

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post #6 of 8 Old 10-16-2010, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Basicly what I did was set the tanks up so that the top of each tank is about 10 inches higher than the tank it flows into so that the overflow has no problems getting there. One unexpected benifit of that setup was that each overflow box has about 2 inches of air space that the water falls through in the pipe keeping the water well oxygenated and (hopefully) keeping the CO2 loss to a minimum since the agitation is in an enclosed space. Additionally the tubing has a very large bacteria colony living in it and using such an over sized diameter of tube lets the water move slowly enough to let them do their job quite well.

Since starting this project there's been a marked reduction in the amount of green and brown algae growth and the hair algae that was sufficating the flame moss has completely cleared up.

Last edited by Janxspirit42; 10-16-2010 at 02:31 AM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-16-2010, 11:47 PM
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that is way to just one big pump to return ...what about a power outage does it reprime an aqualifter...i have a L stair well and was wondering..

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-17-2010, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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To maintain a high enough gph flow it's actually a large pump in the 20 gallon force feeding the canister filter which has it's own pump to return the water to the 60 gallon through a CO2 reactor. None of the pumps would sit out of water in a power outage so no repriming would be needed, however I discovered that due to how low the return line sits in the 60 gallon tank a little over 1/2 the water would siphon back to the 20 gallon tank. To compensate for it I ran a PVC pipe line from the top of the sump bucket downstairs to the kitchen sink. It probably would have been easier to put a one way check valve on the return line, but I did it this way so that I can do easy water changes...just set the Python hose in the 60 gallon tank and let it run for about 45ish minutes at a medium flow rate. That way the water parameters don't change too quickly in any of the tanks.

Last edited by Janxspirit42; 10-17-2010 at 02:17 AM.
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