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Old 08-03-2003, 11:02 PM   #1
JS
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New house with new tank

I am starting construction on a new house that I hope to live in for the next 30 years, so I am considering having a large (125 gallon, saltwater) aquarium that can be seen from 2 rooms built in during construction. I had a 20 gallon freshwater tank in college (8 years) ago and always wanted to go to saltwater, but since I have been moving every 2 or 3 years, I now finally have a chance to set up the aquarium that I have always wanted. I would like to have the tank populated predominantly with fish, but I would be like to have a few invertebrates as well.

My plan is to have a "hole" built into the wall that separates the living room and study. From the living room side, I want the tank to look like a painting on the wall, so the tank will sit flush with where the framing ends on that side. On the study side will be where the depth of the aquarium will be located. I do not want to enclose any of the 4 sides of the aquarium so it is not a true "in wall" aquarium. I realize that I will need a custom stand and canopy constructed because ~4 inches of the aquarium will be in the framing of the wall separating the 2 rooms. This shouldn't be a big deal since I am pretty good in the woodshop. If anybody has any tips for me regarding this, I would love to hear them.
Here is the first of many questions that I am sure that I will have
1. Since all of the 4 sides of the tank (rectangular) will be viewable, I would like to have any and all filtration, heating, etc, located out of sight in the stand. Is this feasible?
2. I am interested in changing water as seldom as possible, and I am willing to put the money into my filtration system to ensure this. Assuming that everything can go underneath the tank, I need some advice as to how to set up the filtration system, because I really don't know what I will need for components at this point.

I am on the steep end of the learning curve and appreciate any help that can be passed my way.
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Old 08-03-2003, 11:15 PM   #2
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reeflady has her plumbing in the basement that may be a nice alternative for you to have a "control room" out of sight if i did it right here is a link that shows some of her equipment
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...er=asc&start=0
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Old 08-04-2003, 10:18 AM   #3
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Since the tank will be viewable from all sides, I suggest you have the tank drilled in the center and build up the LR around it. This way there is no overflow blocking the view from any side. You can hide a lot of equipment under the tank when using a sump.

As far as no water changes, I don't think any amount of filtration will allow you not to make water changes. Basement is a good idea, this way you can make changes from the sump and not ruin the new floor.
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Old 08-04-2003, 12:21 PM   #4
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I would second the basement option. For what you've described I think it's best. You can run all of the plumbing through the wall sections and into the basement. (this will of course require much better pumps.) putting it in the basement also means you can locate your "control area" near a water supply, and use a float switch to "auto top off" your sump to recover from evaporation (a little lesss maintenance) You can also keep pre-made RO water for water changes there and drain for water change directly into the floor drain (Assuming your basement has one) having the plumbing and drains and free space in the basement means you can have it all in one area and not be overly concerned with appearance. (and your not as limited for space as you are under the stand)

btw... WELCOME to AA!!

ps... please give us pics as you progress if you can! we love to see examples and I personally would like to do something like this in the future!
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Old 08-04-2003, 10:24 PM   #5
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I had never thought of having the sump in the basement. That sounds like a very good idea, however, we are planning on finishing the basement and I the advantage of having it out of sight isn't really an advantage in that situation.
I like mulron's idea for having LR surrounding the holes that would be drilled in the aquarium leading to the sump.

Some dumb questions.
For a 125 gallon tank, do I only need 2 holes drilled in the tank? What diameter should each of them be?

Can somebody explain to me (or refer me to a place that it is expained) the pumping mechanism that recirculates the water through the sump?

How much water should be in the sump area at any given time in addition to what will be in the main display portion of the aquarium?
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Old 08-05-2003, 10:26 AM   #6
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well, the number of hole you have really depends on how you decide to set up your overflows and returns. Your returns can come into the tank in the wall and over the top lip of the tank (just to reduce to number of holes drilled into the tank) so then all you need to drill for is the overflow. I hope others will chime in here as I've never done this myself, but my thought would be you could get away with one centraly located overflow with say a 2" diameter (with a screen to keep critters from crawling into it)


for a good idea of a basement sump see that link above to Reef Lady's site. The pumping is literaly just a heavy duty pump that will take the water from the sump and pump it back up through the walls of your house to the display tank. Gravity is all that is necessary to get water from the display tank to the sump.

The exact level of water in the sump depends on its size and what other measures you have to prevent overflows (in the main and inthe sump) You want to be sure that if something fails or clogs that your system will not overflow onto your floor. This can be done with check valves, float switches and "siphon breaks". (I feel more questions coming )

In regards to finishing your basement... you can still get it "out of site" by putting a flimsy wall up around your sump area... a simpy 6x6 room should suffice, just give yourself a water supply and a sink in there and you're all set. You can even keep your quarentine tank in there and testing kits/supplies... give yourself a work room.


...*sigh* I wish I could build my own house!

in regards
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Old 08-06-2003, 10:49 PM   #7
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I was thinking about the basement sump setup and have decided that I may have a place to put it, however, it will be about 12 feet away from directly below where the main tank will sit. Is this feasible, or must the sump be located directly below the main tank in a basement setup?
I believe I read somewhere that the pump should be able to turn over the water in the tank ~6 times/hr. For my 125 gallon tank, this would be a 750gph pump. How much more powerful would I need to drive the basement sump in both situations (directly below the main tank and offset from the main tank) that I described above.

And another question to show my lack of knowledge, What type of pump (submersible, power head, something else) would I want for this sort of setup?
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Old 08-06-2003, 11:09 PM   #8
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Horizontal distance does not matter as much as verticle distance does I think... so it should not matter a whole lot if the water has to flow horizontally 12 feet more.
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Old 08-07-2003, 02:27 AM   #9
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JS said:
Quote:
For a 125 gallon tank, do I only need 2 holes drilled in the tank? What diameter should each of them be?
Depends but I would say 1" diameter for the overflow hole and probably 3/4" for the return.


JS said:
Quote:
Can somebody explain to me (or refer me to a place that it is expained) the pumping mechanism that recirculates the water through the sump?
Do you mean the pump itself or a walkthru of where the water goes once it hits the sump?

JS said:
Quote:
How much water should be in the sump area at any given time in addition to what will be in the main display portion of the aquarium?
The more the better. I would say a min of 35-40 gals due to the complexity of this design.


JS said:
Quote:
How much more powerful would I need to drive the basement sump in both situations (directly below the main tank and offset from the main tank) that I described above.
Assuming the basement ht is 7' and the tank height is 4' with the added horz of 12' ...

I would try and find a pump that at about 14' head ht pumps about 700 or 750.

Example:
http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=DP1127

either that or check out Blueline,Magdrive and Little Giant over at www.championlighting.com I would choose something that had a head ht > 14' or 15'.

As for the pump, powerhead etc question: You want a pump. submergable or external.


---------
Side note: How set are you on a 125gal? I'm thinking that you may want more surface area in this tank. Meaning more width of the tank. Just a thought.
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Arctica 1/4hp Chiller
3 x 250W MH 10K and 2 x 165W VHO Actinics
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Old 08-07-2003, 09:58 PM   #10
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I am pretty set on the 125, I took my wife to the LFS to show her what I wanted to put in our wall and she thought the 125 was too big, but I talked her into it. Pretty sure I'd be pushing my luck if I wanted to put something bigger. :P

Is a submergable or external pump more desirable in this situation, or doesn't it make much difference.?

When I look at pump specifications, I see Max Total Head (ft), is this a measure of how far the pump will deliver the quoted gph? Does that the fact that I will be pumping "up" from the basement have any impact on this? ie Since the water is flowing against gravity, do I need a bigger pump to get the water to where it has to go?

Mulron, I would love to hear a walkthru of where the water will go once it hits the sump.
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