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Old 09-23-2004, 11:25 PM   #1
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DIY 115Gal Tank Build Updates

Here is a update on the tank project I've been tinkering with over the last month or so. The glass should be in next week if this Hurricaine Jeanne doesn't mess with shipping here in Florida.

And I just took off the plywood from the windows and doors 2 days ago, Now if I had left the house boarded up the storm wouldn't be bearing down on Florida, my luck.

Back to the glass, I ordered a glass called Diamant from a vendor in Chicago. This is a white (clear) type of glass that passes light as acrylic does and has no greenish lime color to it at all. Not really that much more expensive than plate glass, but the shipping was almost as much as the glass itself. I went with 1/2" thickness due to the tank being 30" tall.

In the meantime, I've been applying the 2 part epoxy and have 3 coats on it so far. I filled splinters, screw heads, etc. with bondo as needed after the first coat. This epoxy has the consistency of refrigerated syrup, fairly hard to work with, cutting it with 10% MEK helped.

Here is a picture after the first coat

Bondo'd and sanded

A picture after the third coat and a temporary habitat for several tree frogs and a chemelion I caught in the yard. This tank will have 2 or 3 waterfalls, a small stream, several small pools, and a large pool at one end. The entire 2 sided backdrop will be constructed of natural granite with cliffs and planters.


Here is one of several Green Tree Frogs native to Florida awaiting their new home.

This is a Cuban Tree Frog, also caught around the porch light the other night. They are a invasive species and are quite carniverous. Not sure if this one will go in the big tank, they will eat anything, even each other.

Well, thats about it for now everyone, there are some more pictures in the gallery that preceed these, hope you enjoyed the pics and I'll post again as the project unfolds. Take it easy, Scott.
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Old 10-01-2004, 10:14 PM   #2
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October 1 update

Got to working on the plumbing the last couple of days, still the glass hasn't showed up yet via Chicago, so I'm a little limited on how much I can build inside the tank without the front glass installed.

My pump should be here tomorrow, I ordered a Eheim 1250 and I'm hoping to test run the plumbing this weekend. The undergravel plumbing isn't drilled just yet, but it is placed where it will be centered pretty much on the bottom pool of this Paludarium. The key here is to keep the drilled holes small near the uptake, larger where further away to equalize the intake evenly. We'll see how bad I mess that up,

Here is a few pictures of the return system. The pump is rated at around 320 gph, but at a 4 foot head I'm hoping to get 100 gph. I built a return out of 1/2" pvc for the three waterfalls with valves for each one. I hope this will slow the output of the pump less wiring a dimmer switch on the power to slow it down. The up return for the 3 waterfalls is 3/8" inside diameter braded hose. One positive, everything is pulled inside the wall with no plumbing exposed.




A few shots of the undergravel system in place.


This last shot is of the upper right back corner where I decided to go ahead and drill the tank at that level rather than compromise the integrity of the bottom of the tank just yet. I may end up making a reef at some point in the future if my green thumb doesn't work, good place for a skimmer without much reconfiguring maybe.

Having a blast building this tank, we'll see how wet the carpet gets on the first test run of the plumbing
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Old 10-05-2004, 03:38 AM   #3
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More pics as things move along

The project is rolling right along, got the plumbing finished for the most part. Tested the pump, filters and undergravel filter yesterday, no major leaks, a couple of fixes and let it run for 24 hours or so. Seems solid with no drips.





This paludarium as I mentioned will have 3 waterfalls, I though it would be a nice effect to have some fog kick on at various times. Here is a Sunbeam model 701 Ultrasonic Humidifier that I customized for the tank. Not sure what Sunbeam would think of the mods , but it was $36 at Kmart and about $15 in fittings and braded hose.

Sure beat Petsmart's price of $38 just for the Exo Terra ultrasonic device. This has a fan, resevior, the whole works, just modified the output, and added a fill spout on top vs. the bottom fill. No need to remove the resevior, but you do have to raise it up just a hair to allow the plunger to seal before filling, that was a wet carpet experience, I didn't want any ultrasonic devices in the tank as the frequency they operate at can make the inhabitants uncomfortable.



Let there be fog! Muhahahahaha! Enjoy fellow hobbiest, more pics after the glass gets here. Take it easy, Scott.
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Old 10-05-2004, 06:24 PM   #4
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very interesting job on the humidifier!! ButI thought the three returns were going to be for water?
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Old 10-05-2004, 06:51 PM   #5
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Thanks Billy! Yes, the water returns are still in place, in the 2nd pic of the humidifier you can see 2 of the 3 water returns at the right side background. I'm going to have to do a little tweaking on the fog returns, I didn't take into account that all the plumbing has to be downhill grade to allow the condensation to run back down to the humidifier. Got a couple of "water locks" in the lines overnight and two of the lines stopped fogging.
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Old 10-06-2004, 12:22 AM   #6
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Tweaked the Humidifier, more better

Had to rework the uptake on the fogger, condensation in the plumbing was causing "water locks" and no fog would pass in a few spots. If you ever plan to set one up like this, make sure all the uptake has a gravity grade back down to the humidifier, or otherwise water will condensate and you will have blockage as I did after a few hours of use. So far so good, I'm not hearing that gurgling sound, it's been running a couple of hours now and no compromise.

One item that still needs to be addressed on this setup. It seems this particular model of Sunbeam doesn't always like to startup like it should after it has been taken apart.

Not sure if it is the inner workings, water level on the ultrasonic disc or what. Blowing back pressure into the unit seems to solve the problem and it starts cranking the output fog right away. I'm guessing it has a tendancy to over fill the little area where the ultrasonic disc is, hence no output.

I'll have a fix for that probably later, it is just strange because it doesn't happen when I fill the resevior, just when I take it off the base of the unit and put it back together it chug-a-lugs on startup even when all the plumbing is disconnected. It is sure putting out the fog now, prolly too much for a 115 gal. tank. I'll see if the valves will tweak it some. Take it easy, Scott
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:38 PM   #7
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Experimenting with a waterfall setup

Started tinkering with a waterfall setup and threw some rocks in there to keep the splash down for the time being.

Here is a shot with the fog effects going on. Let there be fog!
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Old 10-08-2004, 03:00 PM   #8
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Blowing back pressure into the unit seems to solve the problem and it starts cranking the output fog right away. I'm guessing it has a tendancy to over fill the little area where the ultrasonic disc is, hence no output.
If I had to guess, it would be the backflow of the condensation in the plumbing. The water flows back down in the chamber with the disc, and overloads it. See about routing drainage back into the reservoir rather than back into the fogger.
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Old 10-14-2004, 09:40 PM   #9
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Waterfall experiment part 2

Problem solved Billyz and I thank you for your input, you were right, the extra water level on the ultrasonic device made it struggle but it wasn't the backflow of the condensation, it was my misdoings.

The lower part of the humidifier was overfilling as the top and bottom sections have to be separated far enough so the fill plunger for the lower section seals before removing the fill cap and refilling. Raising the resivior up about a half inch above the base when refilling was enough to make the plunger seal and no extra water filling the bottom section. It has been working like a champ so far.

I decided to trash the first attempt at the waterfall feature. I wasn't happy with it, silicone doesn't stick well to acrylic, it was a poor attempt on my part so I just gutted it. It may have worked, but these purists on here would have bashed me if I had gone with that design,

So I decided to freehand it with the granite. Still alot of work to be done with the build-out, I tested it last night and there is way too much splashige as the water is free falling vs. running down the rocks. All of the silicone will be hidden as finish pieces are added and seams fit together.

I wanted to seal the back rocks as much as possible so there wasn't any stagnent pockets of air or water present. I am in hopes it will dress out nicely as it unfolds. The water and fog lines will be in place at this stage.

Here is the waterfall experiment part 2

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Old 10-19-2004, 04:30 PM   #10
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Waterfall Experiment Part 2 Up And Running

Got the waterfall feature of the vivarium up and running last night and will be testing it over the next couple of days. I got the splashige down to about zero now, still a little tweaking to do to make it a hair more quiet.

So far the water and fog are flowing well. I'm guessing it is turning over about 80 to 100 gph with it turned down a couple of notches, which is close to what I was hoping for. I'll have to put the fogger on a timer at some point. I wish my camera was better at catching the water and the fog cascading down the granite together. It looks pretty cool live.

Here is a few shots I took of it up and running. The first picture is with just the fog so you can see the empty pool. The glass arrived! Just not ready to install it just yet. Hope you enjoy, Scott.



IT'S ALIVE!!!!

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