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Discussion Starter #1
I've been keeping fish in some capacity for over 50 years...I've always wanted a slat water tank and found this web site with the intention of learning enough ( along with alot of reading) to start one...

I've chosen a 60 gallon tank and stand as the basis of my build...it will be diplayed in my foyer away from natural lighting( so I cna control the exact light) and central to the room... I have run supply and return lines through the wall down to the basement where I will house the sump under a stair well...I've also added a GFI outlet to the wal for power...

I made the sump/trickle/wet/dry filter out of a 26 gallon HD tool box.. the botton lined with acrylic to provide a smoothe surface for partitioning... the filter chamber is 12" X 12" by 4" and houses a combination of bio balls/charcoal and filter media that drips through a section of egg crate... the water that trickles through exits below into a chamber that houses my skimmer rated at 100 gallons.. the water height is maintained by a "V" shaped baffels that keeps the water level at a max of 8".. flow to the next chamber starts at 7"... that chamber flows into a second chamber that will host live sand, live rock and possibly some macro algae... that chamber flows through a section of foam ( intended to be a bubble shiled) into narrow chamber that houses a 1500 GPH mag drive pump that with the caculated head pressure will deliver 750GPH back to the tank..any excess water ( from the pump) will be diverted back to the trickle filter chamber via a bypass system of ball valves.. this same by pass will charge the siphon any time it needs to be started...the siphon is fitted with a siphon break at the min tank level to prevent a flood in my sump... the sump is marked with a max level to prevent over filling the tank in the event the siphon should break...I've pre tested the whole system with fresh water and am happy with the "ebb and flow"...I intend to add a self filling portion for the sump, with the supply coming from my R/O system I already use for my fresh water tanks..
I cut a section of egg crate to line the bottom of my tank and support my base rock on.... ( it;s been ordered).... once that is in and arranged artfuly... I'll fill the tank with salt water and allow any adjustments in chemistry and temperture ( provided by 2 150 W heaters) to take place before I add the live sand and live rock...( sand first so I dont over load the filter )...once those items are done.. I wait..

I've been out of my mind busy at work and at home.. when I get a chance I'll take some pictures...
 

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Nice and well planned will get you far and it sounds like there was alot of thought on this one. Is it going to be a fish only tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice and well planned will get you far and it sounds like there was alot of thought on this one. Is it going to be a fish only tank?
I plan on a making it a reef tank as well in the future.. maybe in a year or so ... for now.. life will be simple... live rock( 50 lbs of it.. plus a layer of small rock in the sump)) ...live sand( I'll start with 50 lbs and see how it looks).. a few hardy fish maybe clowns and some blennies... as well as a few bottom dweling critters.. but I need more research on that.. what fish I do stock will be compatible with a reef set up so I dont complicate things in the future.. I've spent most of my energies on preparing a suitable habitat.. if I've learned nothing from fersh water that relates to salt it is nothing GOOD happens quickly... bad stuff can happen FAST.... I will go with hi grade reef quality salt and see how I do with the water quality before i even entertain the thought of corals and other reef creatures... i expect a few bumps so it will be slow and steady until i figure how each thing I do effects the tank...I have much to learn.. I have the patience of an oyster...I expect to be on this earth at least another 20 years..... time is my friend.
 

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Update...

so Ive already "tweaked"my filter desigh a little.... originally, I was going to have a 3/4" line in and a 1" line out.. simply a pair of 90's with shore pipe inbetween... the supply line( 1") ws just going to be 2" 90 degree PVC fitting with a siphon break.... well after reading more, and acting on advise seen here, I found a home made weir on Melevsreef.com...

so, after 3 attempts and desigining a home made break to do the bending i made a custom weir for my tank that not only looks good (you barely can see it looking in the tank) it will start and stop the siphon when the pump is turned off and on.... way better than and white PVC pipe...and the addition of a Durso stand pipe ( home made)keeps things quiet

I tested it with fresh water last night and all systems are go...
I've decided to add to the fitration, by creating a manifold and adding 2 2 little fishies phos ban reactors.. one for phose ban.. the other for carbon.... I've left a third port for a calcium reactor to be added in the future... this all can run on the bypass water recirculated thanks to the new 1500GPH pump added ( mainly because I needed to compensate for head pressure)...

I started mixing D/I water( my unit can make 100 GPD) in 30 gallon poly containers ( hopefully food safe )... I orderd my live rock ( 40 lbs)and it is schedlued to be delived on Friday.... tonight i need to create my aqua scape( I've got 40 lbs of base rock and will grade 50lbs of live sand in the mix when i add water) so I can get the water in the trank and clear so I can finish the scape with live rock on Saturday... I have been taking pictures and will post them when I'm done...
 

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oo ello :-D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Picture time

Last night I mixed up 60 gallons of water with instant ocean salt crystals... each "vat" has a heater in it and was warmed to 76 degrees... a power head in each one is circulating the elixer.. salinity was set at 1.022.. i'll check salinity and the reast of the chemistry tonight and start a start up log...if it's a go, Ill put in the live sand( 64lbs) and enough water to cover it.. .. 25 lbs of live rock is scheduled to be delivered Friday... Saturday i'll put in the live rock and fire it up...

Picture 1 is of the location... I ran a 20 Amp GFI circuit from the fuse panel and put a duplex outlet behind the tank location...plumbing was run through the wall and down the stair well... the filter will reside under the stair well...

the next picture is of the hot mess... that is AFTER all the plumbing was complete... i can't wait to get my shop back in order!

teh next 5 are all of the filter system.... Phosphate and carbon reactors are part of the mix... I plan on adding a calcium reactor in the near future... the small 10 gallon "tank" next to the filter will be a make up tank with DI water... it will be added via a in house pump, controlled by a baffeled float switch.. pictures tomorrow.. Reactors are by 2 little fishies and the skimmer is marine land model 100 in sump.. pump is a 1500 GPH Mag drive that should deliver approx 650 GPH return to the tank @ 13' of head..there should be enough residual to run the reactors... if not.. i have made provisions to run another pump

The next series is of the tank itself.. not much to look at now now but by Saturday noon it will look like something( I hope)... lighting will be controlled by timers... a set of colered l LED lights will be behind the base rock set to go off 30 minutes before the first light is turned on ( same as my fresh water tank).. the second light will turn on 20 minutes latter... a 500GPH circulator will be installed in the opposite corner of the return line to increase the flow..

a 200 W hheater will be in the tank in the corner... another 150 W heater will be in the filter sump.. as will live sand and live rock rubble.. there will also be a light and cover on the sump.. the light will be on an opposite cycle from the tank..

next picture is of the elixer mixing...it's getting fun now!


I know it's not part of the build but.. this is of my babies having breakfast...
 

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I have contemplated going through a wall for some of my projects but I always figure out an alternative.In your instance this will prevent clutter and allow for a more complex filtration than allowed within the stand. Looks really clean where the tank is and how it is being setup.

Man oh Man I wish I had a shop,but if I did it would look like that most of the time. I am always building things for myself or other people,and then there are always problems to fix.

I might leave the reactors off until you get your cycle going ,the natural processes will take some time but leave you with a better seeded bacteria content.

If you start to do SPS corals to an extent you may want to remove the bio balls media and swap it out for a micron sock that you change frequently or an algae scrubber. Bio balls and such over promote aerobic bacteria wich can lead to some higher than wanted nitrates.SPS in genersl Hate nitrates.Just my opinion though.

I must say this is one of the nicer setups going on here, I can tell you have been through this kind of building project before and have done your research.

You might be getting full up on rock once the live arrives,gotta leave room for some nice specimen rocks you find at the stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have contemplated going through a wall for some of my projects but I always figure out an alternative.In your instance this will prevent clutter and allow for a more complex filtration than allowed within the stand. Looks really clean where the tank is and how it is being setup.

Man oh Man I wish I had a shop,but if I did it would look like that most of the time. I am always building things for myself or other people,and then there are always problems to fix.

I might leave the reactors off until you get your cycle going ,the natural processes will take some time but leave you with a better seeded bacteria content.

If you start to do SPS corals to an extent you may want to remove the bio balls media and swap it out for a micron sock that you change frequently or an algae scrubber. Bio balls and such over promote aerobic bacteria wich can lead to some higher than wanted nitrates.SPS in genersl Hate nitrates.Just my opinion though.

I must say this is one of the nicer setups going on here, I can tell you have been through this kind of building project before and have done your research.

You might be getting full up on rock once the live arrives,gotta leave room for some nice specimen rocks you find at the stores.
Thanks for you advise.. it is greatly appreciated... I kind of figured I'd let "nature" do it's thing before running the reactors.. I'm glad you mentioned it.. I figured the boi balls would be a good thing for the cycle, but after all the reading I've done.. I knew they'd be leaviing( a small portion at a time ) once the tank got established... I have the sock in waiting....

I forgot to mention, I have an elcecronic water level swithch to protect the pump from burining out in the even the siphon should be disrupted and the power is still on...
 

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That switch to the pump power is something I have never done but have wanted to for extra security,to be honest the only automatic things i have is a auto top off system and that is only on one tank. I am getting envious of the fine details here.

I forget did you mention here or another thread about your upcoming lighting?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
That switch to the pump power is something I have never done but have wanted to for extra security,to be honest the only automatic things i have is a auto top off system and that is only on one tank. I am getting envious of the fine details here.

I forget did you mention here or another thread about your upcoming lighting?
My "fail safe" ideas come from my line of work... I'm a marine mechanic and machinist by trade, but, 19 years ago got hired to run the maintenance of a mediuim sized machine shop, I regularly work with pumps, water treatment and alarms.. so it's becomes second nature to think about these things..

The lights.. i did mention it... but not in great detail...for now, the lights that came the the hoods can stay... when I added the live sand last night ( I still have a little more "grading to do when my live rock arrives)I installed a multi color LED behind one of the caves, and graded sand up to it..speaking of sand... I went with a little coarser aggrigate, my way of thinking was, that if I didn't like it, capping it with fine sand wouldnt be a big deal... conversely, if Ihad the fine sand, and it wasn't to my liking, removing it would be more work than I care to think about.. i like the coarser sand alot BTW... back to the lights.. the LED is only a 12" color changing strip, so it illuniminates the back of the cave... it looked pretty cool, although the water hadn't cleared completely yet... that LED is on a timer set to go off at 5 AM ... at 5:30 the first hood light comes on eventually this will be a softer light bulb to simulate sunrise and early morning sun...at 6: AM the second light is set to come on.. this will be a more intense light .. to simulate the latter part of the morning and day... the LED will shut off now and remain off until 5PM.. then it will turn on.... at 5:30.. the "bright" noon day light will shut down leaving the softer light lit for another 30 minutes... and 30 minutes latter the cave lights will go out...

As i said earlier I added the live sand last night, and filled the tank abput 7/8th of the way... just shy of the filter ( I had to make more water)... I installed the circulator pump on the opposite side of the return below the intake for the weir... angling it slightly upward to meet the return water that will aim downward to the front of the tank, creating a counter clockwise current.... I "hid" the probe for the digital themometer behind it....I installed the 200 watt heater low in the water colum in the opposite corner near the intake ( there is also a 150 watt heater in the sump)...

the live rock is "out for delivery" so I may have to leave work a little early today;-)

I almost forgot.... I bought some black paper to slip under the white spots to simulate the depth of the back of the cave
 

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Are you going to run an actinic and a 10,000 K like most people or are you going for a warmer color scheme? I did not see if they were T-8s or T-5s?High Output maybe?
 

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Are you going to run an actinic and a 10,000 K like most people or are you going for a warmer color scheme? I did not see if they were T-8s or T-5s?High Output maybe?
they are T 5's... that's what I have read.. I need more thought and study..( hence leaving the stock ones for now).. what do you recomend... because I want to gear everything twoards a reef tank, I want to have everything aiming in that direction.. if for no other reason to "practice" for when i introduce coarals in the future...for now until the tank cycles, I will be limiting the light to 4 hours a day to keep algae growth to a minimum..
 

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If you have the option to go with one blue actinic and one 10,000 Kelvin do so as this will have good spectrum for growth and still look good. This may not be enough to keep all types of corals but will be good fro some soft corals and LPS...You can always upgrade later on.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
the waiting game...

My live rock arrived on time Friday afternoon.... so I placed them in the tank topped it off with water and fired up the filter...
I finished the fresh water top off and the low water shut off ( for the mag pump) I added a 5 w light for the center portion of the filter I added about 5 lbs of live sand and the rock rubble to the filter..
I decided to separate the skimmer and put it on a switch so I wouldn't have to keep unplugging it to service the cup...

I did a water test today and was expecting ammonia and was very surprised to find 20ppm nitrates ( my skimmer is still in break in mode ) so I did a 20 gallon water change( 1/3 of the volume)... ( ammonia was at 0..nitrIte was @.50).. I'll retest in the morning...The salt mixture was made from DI water, so I know the nitrates didn't come from the water...
My parameters are as follows after the first test... Phosphate 0...NitrAte 20ppm...Calcium.320ppm...Ammonia @0...NirtrIte @.50ppm...KH 161.1........Salinity @1.023... water temp 78.6

Pictured are the low level shut off ( yellow switch) for the pump.... the auto top off I made from 1/2" pvc and drilled and tapped a 1/8NPT hole in the cap for the sensor... I housed the pipe in a 1" pvc pipe and drilled out the bushing to accept the 1/2" pipe... a 1/4" 20 hole wa tapped into the bushing to accept the ss adjustment screw... a plastic box was set inside and the switch wired to the outlet.... the 10 gallon bucket ( with pump) is filled with DI water for top offs...

The last picture is as she sets now...still little cloudy but I'm happy with the circulation ( after considerable monkeying around)...
 

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If you want any macro algae I can send you some as I have way too much right now. I could also send you some of my live sand with spaghetti worms and copopods.
 

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If you want any macro algae I can send you some as I have way too much right now. I could also send you some of my live sand with spaghetti worms and copopods.
That is a very genrous offer...Macro algae would go a long way towards helping the tank stabilize until the tank matures a little...

I got called into work early this AM... time to run a test...it'l lhave to wait until I get home..
 

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Discussion Starter #18
update...

Nitrates disapeared after water change.. and have not reapeared since... nitrite showed at 0.25...no amonia... I've since added macro algae to the tank and macro algae and pods to the refugium... skimmer is now producing skimate and the tank is crystal clear ....and I've raised the salinity to 1.024 where i plan on keeping it....if the water parameters hold tight , Ill pick up a clean up crew next week...

I've since made a light timing bar to go inside the cabinate( I forgot to photograph it)...I was mistaken on my lighting.. the bulbs are T-8's... the same fixtures on my fresh water rank... I had a 10'000 K bulb that was an experiment on the fresh tank from when i was selecting the best light for the plants..it was too much there but looks great on this application.... eventually ( when the bulbs need replacing) I will be changing out the fixtures...

I made a small test station for checking my water quality, previously, I did it at the kitchen table... I cant count the vials i have dropped ( and broken) onto the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen... so I made a test tube holder from egg crate and a small section on foam board... using a hot glue gun I assembled the pieces and it holds the tubes nicely and stable...the station is a great asset for testing the water in both my tanks.. simplifieing the chore greatly.
 

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Some of my favorite test stations are simple wooden blocks with shallow holes drilled out as to accommodate the test tubes,then labeled appropriately.At some point I am going to have my friend make me one from semi precious stone and crystal or maybe coral but for now I use the old block and foam. What kind of macro did you go with?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I went with 4 kinds..Chaetomorpha....Red and green gracilara and ulva.. i also added some shaving brush to the tank as well...
 
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