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Old 01-19-2006, 12:49 AM   #1
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A few DIY questions

I am making a 40 gallon acrylic tank, My first question being, how large of a refugium filter will the tank require (if it were fully loaded). I was thinking about making a carbon canister on the return line from the sump to the tank, would this be at all effective in possibly controlling ammonia spikes? What is most commonly used as a bio-filter? Is it absolutly neccisary to use the "upside-down U" in the overflow? and why? I think I will post more questions as these get answered... thanks for the advice everyone!

EDIT: How large of a sump pump do I need?

Sorry for double posting image! but its a "pre-filter that I designed. Let me know what you think of it.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:17 PM   #2
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Firstly, Welcome to Aquarium Advice!

Will this be for a SW or a FW tank?
You might want to pop over to our SW or FW forums to ask some of the questions to decide how you want to filter your tank before you make a lot of design decisions.

if this were a SW tank I would tell you to focus mostly on your substrate and LR for your bio filtration as any form of "media" will end up with more maintenance to keep good chemistry in your tank.
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:40 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. It is going to be a fw tank
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Old 01-19-2006, 06:31 PM   #4
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I assume you are going to drill the tank & have your pre-filter inside?

I would suggest having your biomedia compartment in the sump itself .... You have what looks like a 3x3x12 space for your biomedia - a bit small, and with your design <without a water distribution system>, most of the water will go directly from your intake "teeth" down the side & out the box, missing the biomedia. If you are planning bioballs, you'll need something like 1/2 to 1 gal space, plus some way to distribute water over them .... Personally I would find it ugly to have that much stuff inside the display tank.

The upside down U - is that a Durso standpipe you are thinking of? It is not necessary ..... but highly desirable. Unless your water outlet is big enough that the water can flow down the outlet pipe in a sheet <don't know exact size, but from what I read in the neighbourhood of 12" diameter!>, the outflow box will be LOUD. Without a Durso attachment, the water noise in my overflow drove me nuts. The Durso made a HUGH improvment.

Size of return pump - you want 2-4x water turnover per hour for FW (up to 10x for reef). I add my sump volume to the calculation - unless you have a hugh central sump servicing several tanks. So if your sump is 20 gal, add that to 40 gal of tank makes a flow rate of 120-240 gph. Note that this is actual flow rate - not the max pump flow rate. Moving water uphill & through pipes results in rates much less than advertised. To determine the pump needed, You'll want to first settle on your head height (ie - how high the tank is above your sump), then look through the fine prints on the pump on how much less water it is going to move at that head height, plus allow for 10-20% loss due to tubing resistence.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:41 PM   #5
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thanks for all the advice, it was very helpful. The "pre-filter" is ouside the tank, the tank itself is a acrylic diy project. so the "teeth" will be on the back wall of the tank. I also added a "lip" so the water would flow over the biofilter. The pre-filter is 3"widex6"deepx12"long. I am going to check on the gal. capacity of it but I think it's about 1 gal. another thing I am still questioning is if a carbon canister after the sump would be useful in controlling ammonia spikes... ie: fill the canister when cycling the tank, as it is after all the bio-media it would not "starv" the bactiria but would help to minimize ammonia back into the tank. any thoughts?? I also have a new drawing of the whole tank and pre-filter setup if anyone wants to see it
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:00 AM   #6
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im thinking.. you should tilt the bio media thingy, make the holes smaller, and only make the intake on one side of the box? that way, it'll go over all of the media, and by the end the water will all be under, and can drain out.

and if you cutting the "teeth" in the tank, will it effect the durability of the tank?
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:20 AM   #7
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As far as tank durability is concerned... It shouldn't be effected due to the pre-filter also acting to re-inforce the tank.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:25 PM   #8
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okay nvm.. thought it over my thingy made no sense
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:07 PM   #9
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Ah, the whole thing looks better now.

2 more comments:

The space you have for your bio-media is between the lower end of your water lip & the shelf, & it looks to be only an inch or 2 deep .... that makes a volume of about 70 cu in max (about 1/4 gal) ..... You might want to make the whole thing deeper (ie taller) - more space for media, plus the water outlet being lower will make less of a splash into the sump = less noise.

Your lip design might be a problem - it will still direct water to just a small part of the media, but if it is fixed - you'll have problem getting the bioballs out for servicing .... not enough space to put your hand under the lip ..... so you'll have to drain & tip the tank over to get at the bioballs ..... or to access the lower compartment -- say you have something stuck in the outlet ....

The classic water distribution system is a removable plate. The plate sits on top of the biomedia (maybe supported by rails?), and snug enough to the sides of the box to collect a layer of water. Holes in the plate direct water evenly over the entire biomedia surface. The plate is not glued in so you can remove it to get at the bioballs, and while you are at it, the biomedia shelf should be removable for easy access to the lower compartment.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:12 PM   #10
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One other thing - carbon does not remove ammonia ..... There are ammonia binders (zeolite, etc) but these are not replacement for proper cycling. IMO you should not need ammonia binders if you are cycling properly.
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