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Old 01-20-2004, 03:56 AM   #1
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A box with one wall...

Hey everybody,

I have an idea for a simple overflow tank mod, and I am hoping for some feedback.

I am no expert handyman . I like to keep it relatively simple, but why should the saltys have ALL the fun with PVC?

The tank I am designing for is a 40 gallon 'breeder' FW tank (36" x 18" x 17") with 2"-3" "pool filter sand" substrate. I am setting up for African shell dwelling cichlids, Lamprologus ocellatus, so the decor will be sand, shells and a few rocks. Not much stuff to hide pipes and heaters behind.

I want to use a canister filter. I want an overflow intake to avoid sand in the impeller. I like having my equipment hidden. What to do...

I've been playing around with a simple drawing program, to work out ideas, and I think I have hit on a winner. A single wall corner overflow 'box".

This is a sketch of the 'wall' cut from 1/4" acrylic, ~12" x ~16". The bottom corner notch is for the outlet pipe:



The wall is cemented into the corner at ~45 degree angle, cutting off 1 back corner from the rest of the tank.


The intake for the canister and the heater fit behind the wall and the output line runs down to the bottom, through the notch, and across the back bottom edge. The outlet line has 2 nozzles aligned to maximize water movement and surface agitation.



The best part is, IMHO, with an opaque wall and substrate in the tank, almost everything is already hidden.



So, what do you think? Am I reinventing the wheel? am I missing a fatal flaw? Do I have a winner?
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Old 01-20-2004, 09:09 AM   #2
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Just make sure that your overflow holes let enough water through. Otherwise It might be like filling your bathtub at a rate that is more than the bathtub's overflow can handle (which equals a lot of water on the floor).
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Old 01-20-2004, 10:17 AM   #3
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I like it. The plans look simple enough. My only thought is on the efficiancy of the heater. It may not be a real concern but here's what i'm thinking.

Water is only heated when it comes into the overflow area. That water is then drawn out of the tank into the fluval, then back into the tank. My concern is that the water will lose much of its heat as it flows through the fluval.... but I guess that's no different than water flowing through a sump then back to the tank so... nevermind.. I think you're all set!
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:57 AM   #4
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Is pool filter sand a good sand to use? I was under the impression that it was very sharp.
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Old 01-20-2004, 12:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerMcAllen
Is pool filter sand a good sand to use? I was under the impression that it was very sharp.
I don't personally know but this would be a major consideration for the fish he's talking about. They're rather small (2" max) diggers.
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Old 01-20-2004, 02:21 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback!

From my research, pool filter sand is silica sand similar to play sand, only of more uniform size and color. It is also supposed to have a LOT less dust than play sand, I have read of folks losing up to 1/4 of their volume of play sand after rinsing out all the dust

I will double check its sharpness too, probably a good idea anyway. You never really know if 'pool filter sand' around here is going to be the same as somewhere else.
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Old 01-22-2004, 12:31 PM   #7
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hey enki,
i have a question/concern about your setup. I forget the max head height of the fluval 404 (i have a 303 and it tops out at 6foot for head height) however my concern is that the fluval might not be powerful enough to return the water into the tank.you might want to double check it's head height, then measure the distance the water will have to travel to enter the tank. besides that though, i think you have a great setup.
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Old 01-22-2004, 10:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for the compliment, I can't wait to see it come together!

Head height is something I had not considered until just yesterday actually.

It was right after I decided to go with the filstar xp 2, (On sale at drfostersmith.com BTW) I was reading some online installation info where it said the canister top needed to be between 24" and 55" inches below the waterline of the tank. I had not even thought it could be too high!

I guess it is as much a problem as being too low, this canister was designed to use the siphon pressure along with the pump power to operate properly, I imagine this is so for most canisters.

According to my calculations and estimates, I will be at about 35-38 inches down. Golden!
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Old 01-23-2004, 01:29 AM   #9
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lol well i am kinda fighting a similar problem. I moved like 8months and dismantled my saltwater tank, at the time i was using the 303 as a chem/mech to power a fluidized bed filter. during the move, the stand was damaged, and recently i constructed a new one, i also have plans on building a wet/dry sump [and a overflow box] and refuge system thus removing the need for the 303, my orginal idea was to recyle the canister as a return pump untill i found it's orginal installation instructions which stats it needs be below the water line of the tank. since the sump will be at the lowest point of this setup, there is no way to plumb the canister into the system to operate as a return pump.
Try to save a few bucks, and got shot down i guess i will just get a mag drive 5, i wish i could have saved the 60bucks though but it was worth a shot. i might set up another fw tank (probably a 30gal goldfish tank or cichlid) and use the canister for that, but who knows.
hope you everything works out for you enki, you have a nice solid setup. you will have great results i am sure. maybe after everything is up and running posting some pics of it in operation ?
last piece of advice, which i am sure your aware of though. there is a large variety of plants you can buy that will grow to the top of the tank, that can be used to hide unsightly filter hoses, heaters, ect.
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Old 01-23-2004, 02:52 AM   #10
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I like the idea of using the canister to run the fluidized bed, how well did it work?

Could you raise the sump on the new project so the water levels worked out better?

I like plants, but these fish are digging machines. I might give them some Java fern to beat up on, but that is probably it.
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