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Old 08-06-2009, 04:44 PM   #1
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My Tank setup, DIY but with lots of reading on this forum

Hi all, I am a newbie from the West Rand in JHB, South Africa, I would like firstly thank everyone on this forum, it has been such a great

wealth of knowledge, and i never ever had a any time to post anywhere before. As thanks i would like to share what i have learnt, im not sure

if this is the right place or not.

Attached is a tank design (and sump later) i came up with putting the best of everyones ideas together for a planted and fish aquarium. I have

built this tank and sump and it is running very well. I do apologise if this post is very long, and excuse my english, as i am new, but lets

not let be my excuse. Please advise if i am doing anything wrong. I will try to be as detailed as possible

My tank size is 90cm x 31cm x 31cm. I had two 25mm holes drilled on the one small side (maked in green SIDE VIEW) on opposite corners. The

lover was fitted with a bulkhead and 25mm pipe for draining to a sump. I found this to gurgle quite alot, so i used an inline reducer near the

top to 20mm into the sump(20mm pipe length = 50cm and 25mm pipe = 12cm), this somehow reduced the gurgling to nothing as well as using a bit of

roughish filter wool, kinda like plastic pot scruber material.

The top most hole was used for inlet from a 1660l/h pump that sat in the sump, connected to 25mm pipe up to a bulkhead. The bulkhead then had a

reducer to a 16mm rigid plastic pipe(IN GREEN ALL VIEWS did this as a 25mm pipe would not give me any pressure, and water just trickled in). I

am not sure if i should make this into a spray bar or not, but for now i just bent the pipe using boiling water to almost just under water

level leaving a bit of gap (for air in power failures so that the siponing action wont reverse flow tank water back into the sump).

I then made the common corner overflow i have seen in many LFS(shorter blue line in TOP VIEW), but didn't like the idea of water draining from

the top and just a peice of mesh to keep the fish from falling into the sump. Instead of the mesh i used a filter wool that is a bit course,

kinda like the pot scraper material as said above added to the top(let it stick out above the water level) to prevent any fish and bigger

debris from entering. This acts as a trickle as the water then diffuses down onto some more of that plastic filter wool before being sucked in

I then added another piece of glass in front of this (inner blue line longer line in the TOP VIEW)with it being raised so that water would suck

in from the bottom through the gravel and UGF with corner cut(RED lines). The UGF i used 4 uplift tubes with airstones to suck the debris down

into the gravel, once at the bottom as fine mulch the corner siphon would get rid of it. I had to initially plug up the bottom part of this

glass with lots of thicker gravel as smaller gravel would just jet sucked in and so would the fish I have layed out my gravel plants and then

added slightly finer gravel (LFS said safe for UGF) for the plants.

I also used an old elite filter i had that has a end cap with place to attach an air hose for aeration. I connected my CO2 line to this to get

some DIY CO2 into the tank, and when the lights switch off then so would this pump thus reducing the diffusion of the CO2 into the tank, not by

that much. I am not sure with UGF if the tank water level should be over, inline or under the uplift tubes outlet.

BTW I forgot to mention before i layed out the UGF i used three airlines(DARK PURPLE LINES) with fine holes in them mounted under the UGF to

the tank bottom just to create some aeration and bubbles every now and again through different sections of the gravel. this works well, but

sometimes on high when too much air builds up(every hour and a half or so) it cheats and comes out the UGF uplift with no harm, just as an

unclogging bubble if the tubes were to get blocked. My tank has been running for three weeks now and finished cycled thanks to my 4 pink danios and plants.


For the sump I am using a 48cm x 23cm x 23cm tank, with four divisions. the first one being angled so as to trap bubbles forming together with

the filter wool for mechanical filtration I added a carbon bag in here to take out harmful chemicals if present at this stage, the second and

third chamber does the biological filtration with bioballs and ceramic rings and brick pieces to increase surface area for bacteria to grow and

flourish. The fourth and fifth is to polish the water and zeolite was added to remove ammonia if left over ammonia is present. I am not sure if

this is optimal maybe someone could advise. Can i add salt to the tank if Zeolite is present? I was told on the zeolite bottle to remove zeolite before adding salt

I do 25%~30% water changes every week

as per the sera test kit i have:
PH 7.5
KH 4dkh
GH 6dgh
NO2 0ml/l
these figures are pretty much regular now that the tank is stabalised

Lighting is on for 8hrs every day on a timer

I have used :
PLANTS:
~two long strands of egeria densa
~two long strands of hornwort
~two pots of microsword planted into the gravel spaced out evenly near flowing current(they tend to get out of the gravel easily and dont want

to go back so i hope the finer gravel will help)
~some dwarf hairgrass in a few spots which i hope would carpet the gravel one day
~ some Limnophila indica which turned yellowish in my other tank, but seems to be starting to grow again and green out now
~ some Javamoss on some driftwood and a few rocks I hope this would grow in time well enough to cover the driftwood a bit. One clump turned a

bit colourless while in my other tank, i hope this would grow green again, though it seems to be getting there over the last few days since i

added the DIY CO2

FISH:
4 danios who helped cycle my tank
4 Guppies
2 silvertips
3 red tailed glassfish
10 neons
1 indian glassfish(at the time we didn't know they were injected and seems very shy, but i hope we give him a good happy home. We will never

support that LFS anymore)
1 pleco
(Overstocked I know my wife just every cute lil fish she sees and goes out and get them for our tank, but now she understands that overstocking

is a bad idea hence we now gotten a bigger tank)

EQUIPMENT:
2 20w ballast
1 600mm day glo lamp
1 450mm day glo lamp
1 DIY reflector made from plastic sheet coverd in tin foil and some shrink wrap to prevent the water from fading the foil
1 big boy 4 output air pump
1 1660l/h pump for the sump
1 elite 250 air filter used for CO2 diffusion
2 x 50w heaters set to 32 to get rid of ich on my danios currently
1 x 200w heater set to 32 to get rid of ich on my danios currently
DIY coke bottle CO2 reactor


I hope this would create a happy tank
Please advise if i am doing anything wrong or if you have any question on how or why i did things this way if it is not efficient.
Why has anyone not tried this yet?
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:46 PM   #2
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Sounds like you got a plan!
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:56 PM   #3
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Thanx partypalooza5, do you think it is a good idea to do what i am doing? Except the overstocking i know thats bad
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:58 PM   #4
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The only thing's I would change is the UGF and for a planted tank with CO2, having a sump would dissipate the CO2. Canisters are better in my opinion.
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by partypalooza5 View Post
The only thing's I would change is the UGF and for a planted tank with CO2, having a sump would dissipate the CO2. Canisters are better in my opinion.
Thanks once again, My idea of the UGF was to help in bringing all the fish waste down into the gravel for the plants roots to grab hold of in the finer gravel substrate, then filter throught the thicker gravel to the bottom where the rotting would then be sucked into the filter. Where i thought the UGF would help is that it spaces the bottom and gravel enough to get the sinking dirt to be sucked into the corner overflow/drain.

I thought as much the sump would lose my CO2, hence i used my elite filter in the tank to diffuse the CO2 into fine bubbles to be absorbed into the water where the plants could take it up. what does not get used will get wasted anyways, the aeration of the UGF just helps the fish breathe(should balance out O2 & CO2) if CO2 was ever too high. But i do see your point in losing the UGF, my only thought on that is that only the one half of the tank gravel would recieve cleaning if there wasnt a space under the gravel to have the dirt sucked up.

Canisters are quite expensive here in SA, hence i opted for alot of DIY, but i do intend to get one when finances are better and if this design does not do its job in 6 months
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:42 PM   #6
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It seems like a good idea now, but UGF's are more of a hassle than they are worth. I say you'd be fine with just the sump or a DIY canister. How many liters is your tank again?
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:02 PM   #7
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I knnow exactly what you mean by being a hassle, The ugly tubes sticking out(which i hope to cover with plant life), when i used to clean my old tanks I used to get alot of gunk below the UGF plates, hence my need to drain from below the gravel with the corner filter suction. I was even thinking of a DIY job for canister filter, but im not sure if it may be any much different from the current sump filter i have. Except for the water travelling left to right as opposed to top to bottom.

My tank is around 100 liters
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
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Arrow

A lil something i use for maintenence, very good for beginners, and to keep track of a few things. hope it helpscouldnt get the file uploader to take it)

OurTankDataPro.xls - FileFactory (6Mb)
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