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Discussion Starter #42
Can you post a few picts of your of the PVC water tool you built? Looking forward to seeing what your drain system looks like for your tanks. Great idea.

Great info on dirt tanks if you havn't seen this before:

How to: Natural Planted tank
How to: Natural Planted tank - Page 4

I haven't forgot the pic but I keep forgetting to take that pic.

I have a drain system worked out just need to buy the pvc to get started. Hoping I can get started this weekend but I'm worried I will not have time to do that project also.

Thanks for those links I had not seen them.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Here are a few photos of the tool I made. The one on the left is my refill tool the two on the right are part of my drain system but they are still a work in progress.

The refill tool is all made from 3/4" PVC pipe. The green hose goes thru a 2" hole in the wall(floor level) to my utility sink, I have it set for hot and cold water so my temp is correct going back into the tanks. I can pull the tool to every tank in my room and when I'm done just push the hose back thru the hole in the wall.

The part in the tank has 12 cuts in it so the water will come out with less pressure. I was worried it would still stray a lot but it doesn't. This pipe is the only thing not glued, I was thinking I could change pipes for different tanks but it has worked in them all just fine.


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The pipes that are on the right are part of my drain system. They are 1/2" PVC pipe my plan is to hang them on the tank when I want to drain the water to a given level, different pipes on the inside to drain to different levels. I will have a 25% and 50% level, I will have different ones for each size tank. I will be able to vac the tank then start the drain and start on the next tank. Once the water gets to the right level it will stop draining. Then I can at my refill tool and let if fill back up.

These are a work in progress I might scrap the whole idea if it doesn't work as well as I think it should. Picking up the stuff for the drain system tonight so with luck will have it going this weekend and can test it out.


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Discussion Starter #45
I got some free time last night and I started my drain system.

I did a lot of reading about how much water will freely flow thru PVC pipe so I would know what size to get. I used 1" pipe because I would be using 3/4" or 1/2" hose to drain to the pipe. Knowing where I would put the pipe I wanted it to be small enough that it wasn't in the way.

This weekend I will be adding up right sections to the T's so the hose stays in better and cut down on the risk of over flowing. Also going to put a net of the end of the pipe to catch anything that gets sucked up from the tank. That will also be a safety net for the fish in case I suck one up.


On Thursday night I do water changes, no real cleaning just changing the water. So last night I had two tanks draining and one tank refilling while I'm sitting in the chair watching. That is the way to do water changes.

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The empty tanks in the pics are going to be my dirt tanks. Hoping to pick up the stuff tonight to set them up this weekend. Also going to get black paint so I can paint the rack and PVC drain. Really should have painted the rack before I added tanks but I will be able to work around that.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
After using the drain system I really like it, it makes water changes much easier and faster. I added the up right sections and that does help hold the hose in, making it much nicer. I will be making a few changes, I don't like the placement of the T's. I will take 1 out and move the other two to be more central to all the tanks.



Also got my first dirt tank started. The water is still pretty cloudy and I fear I don't have enough plants but we will see how it works this week.
 

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Yep sounds excellent! Just make sure to do everyother day wc on the dirt if u want the cloud to go down. After a quick probation dirt tanks take off!!! I really think your gonna like the way dirt goes for ya, seems like my fish breed like mad.... Can say about my plants in there....... The acaras have been like a wrecking crew this season,...... 2 spawns tho and some free swimming fry as of last night.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Yep sounds excellent! Just make sure to do everyother day wc on the dirt if u want the cloud to go down. After a quick probation dirt tanks take off!!! I really think your gonna like the way dirt goes for ya, seems like my fish breed like mad.... Can say about my plants in there....... The acaras have been like a wrecking crew this season,...... 2 spawns tho and some free swimming fry as of last night.

It took it a few days to clear so I could see the plants, I touched the gravel last night and it got cloudy all over again. But it cleared pretty quick that time.

I read that I will get a ammonia spike so I planed on keeping it fish less for about a month. Then I'm going to move my male and female guppies into the tank.

Really hope I put enough plants in the tank. I put all my swords in there but they don't take a lot of room.
 

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I usually add fish in 1-2 days after I set up my planted tank. If it has enough plants it should be be fine to add the fish. I do water changes 25-50% every 1-3 days during the first week depending on readings. I watch my fish and snails....if they are not trying to get out of the tank then parameters must be good. Once you get a soil based planted tank established you will have to make minimal water changes.
 

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Well its a dirt tank so hes right on the money, its best to "cycle" with no fish. That way you can do big WC's with out the wories. You should be ok to add fish at two weeks tho
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Last night I did a large water change and cleaned out my HOB filter again, a lot of dirt in the filter. Also wiped off the plants leaves as they had a little dust on them.

What kind of filter systems do you guys run on your dirt tanks? Also do the plants need a heater? I know when I add fish I have to have a heater but right now I don't.

Also thinking about moving the Oscars to their 125g this weekend. Little worried they will be hard to feed in that big of a tank. They come right to the corner now to eat so should be fine but I still worry about them.
 

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I have a penn-plax cascade 1000 canister filter hooked up right now on my dirt tank. Also running another one on my 90 gallon.... Only problem with canisters is the activated carbon costs about 7-8 bucks a month......
 

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Last night I did a large water change and cleaned out my HOB filter again, a lot of dirt in the filter. Also wiped off the plants leaves as they had a little dust on them.
You shouldn't be accumulating alot of dirt in your filter. Did alot of the dirt escape when you were filling the tank or planting plants?

What kind of filter systems do you guys run on your dirt tanks? Also do the plants need a heater? I know when I add fish I have to have a heater but right now I don't.
I use AquaClear HOB filters or sponge filters on my soil planted tanks... but I run 10g -30g tanks so I have no need for canister filter. What are the current temp of the planted tank?
 

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You shouldn't need to use activated carbon with a soil based planted tank. The plants act as the filter and they need the minerals that the carbon may remove. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
You shouldn't be accumulating alot of dirt in your filter. Did alot of the dirt escape when you were filling the tank or planting plants?



I use AquaClear HOB filters or sponge filters on my soil planted tanks... but I run 10g -30g tanks so I have no need for canister filter. What are the current temp of the planted tank?


I did stir up when I was putting the plants in the dirt. Some of it might have come from my gravel also, I washed it but maybe I didn't get it fully clean. I checked the filter this morning it was pretty clean and my water has stayed clear for the last 2 days.


I have a HOB filter on the planted right now and I might toss in a sponge just because I really like them. The water is 65-67 degrees so not cold but not tropical temps. I put a heater in the tank this morning but I don't have it plugged in yet, I was going to do that tonight and then add some guppies this weekend.



I cut the carbon out of the filter pack, I didn't know what harm it would do but guessing it wouldn't help so I took it out.
 

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Well I might just take the carbon out now as well, I had mine in to scrub meds and I guess I forgot to take it out.... Not sure if it really matters untill I take my electric blue acaras out, they are going ape....
 

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I got to ask

I was wondering about your electrician. Did he mention using GFI circuit breakers, or is using GFI breakers the wrong thing to use?

I was planing to change the outlet behind my cabinet to a GFI outlet, then plug in a power strip.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
I was wondering about your electrician. Did he mention using GFI circuit breakers, or is using GFI breakers the wrong thing to use?

I was planing to change the outlet behind my cabinet to a GFI outlet, then plug in a power strip.


The GFI outlet will do just fine just need to put it onto the circuit before your other outlets so they are all protected. But after talking to my electrician a GFI has some draw backs. If you lose power it could cause a small surge and that will trip the GFI. Then when the power comes back on anything on your GFI circuit won't come back on. He told me that is why they don't put GFI on refrigerators.

So what I did was have him put the GFI on one circuit and I run my heaters and lights on that circuit. If I'm not home and it doesn't come back on it's not a huge deal. My air pump /filters are on a different circuit with no GFI so they will come back on for sure.

I also put my outlets high up on the wall so water wouldn't run down the cords into the outlets. That should keep most of the water away from my outlets
 

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If I were putting in new outlets.

The GFI outlet will do just fine just need to put it onto the circuit before your other outlets so they are all protected. But after talking to my electrician a GFI has some draw backs. If you lose power it could cause a small surge and that will trip the GFI. Then when the power comes back on anything on your GFI circuit won't come back on. He told me that is why they don't put GFI on refrigerators.

So what I did was have him put the GFI on one circuit and I run my heaters and lights on that circuit. If I'm not home and it doesn't come back on it's not a huge deal. My air pump /filters are on a different circuit with no GFI so they will come back on for sure.

I also put my outlets high up on the wall so water wouldn't run down the cords into the outlets. That should keep most of the water away from my outlets
That is exactly what I would have done. When I had my computer/ 55gallon fish tank room, I made my own computer desk. To make it easier to get at all the plugs I put a series of outlet boxes together with pvc conduit on top and around the desk. The first outlet box had a cord with a plug on it which went to a high up 20 amp dedicated outlet circuit. There was no chasing wires to find where something was plugged in.

If you have easy access to your main circuit box, I'd put in a GFI Breaker. I don't think I ever had a GFI protected circuit fail to come back on after a power failure or surge. I recently moved to Florida and live away from town in the country, believe me I get plenty of power surges. When I did some upgrades, the contractors informed me about ARC Fault breakers that did what you described. They work like GFI Breakeres, but are much more sensitive to surges, a microwave or a refrigerator could cause a surge that would trip the circuit just when they were turned on.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
I never thought about the GFI not coming back on but I guess it could happen. My main circuit break is in the same room as my fish tanks so he was able to hook right in no problem.

I used the PVC conduit to run my new circuits also, I didn't want to take down the paneling and deal with drilling holes for wire. I had my 10 outlets install in 10-15 mins and it cost less than $50 for everything but paying the electrician. I paid him $50 but he gave my son a guinea pig with cage, bedding, and food so I think I came out a head on that deal.
 
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