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Old 11-16-2003, 01:19 PM   #1
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Extra Large tank w/ multiple filtering options - Confused...

My 400 gallon FW aquarium is almost ready for water. My problem is which way to filter it- given two options. Use just one (which one) or use both (separately or together)????
I have a tower at one end that has 3 perforated pipes that are 12 inches tall [or 1/3 of the tower's height] and another pipe that goes thru the tower from the bottom and over the top of the tower. They were put in place so that I could put bio balls at the bottom 1/3 of the tower, then packets of carbon (coal), and on top of that a filtering material. The water would overflow the tower pass thru the aforementioned medium, thru the perforated pipe, the pump, and then back into the tank thru the overflow tube.
In addition to this I have 3 outlet drains in the bottom of the tank, beneath a homemade under gravel filter. There are four bubbler tubes located beneath the under gravel filter to facilitate removal of waste thru the gravel.
I understand the filtering thru the tower - even though the clean filtered water is returning at the same place the overflow is feeding the tower.
If I am to use the under gravel filter I would need to pump the water to the top of the tower for it to be filtered before going back into the tank.
It had been suggested I use a wet-dry filter beneath the tank for the under gravel filtering but the main drawback is that in case of a power failure I would have 400 gallons of water draining into the room.
Any and all suggestions would be appreciated as this really LARGE tank has begun to create LARGE headaches. Thanks in advance to all.
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Old 11-16-2003, 02:22 PM   #2
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I can't help about filtration but incase of power faliure your going to want a batery surge protector that will keep the operation running for a few hours until you can stop it without the water flowing out.

btw, when its set up Please post pics, 400 gallon!!!
its the largest i have ever heard of.
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Old 11-16-2003, 02:49 PM   #3
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Try posting your problem in the SW forum, they will probably have more experience with large tanks and filtration.
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Old 11-16-2003, 04:44 PM   #4
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I think I understand. It sounds like what you really have there, is what us salties calls a Reef Ready Tank... The tower you are talking about in the corner, does it have teeth cut inot it at the top of what would be the water line? Are the pipes inside this? If so, Then that is an overflow type system and the pipes inside are designed to be the release and return of the water... If you could get us a picture, it will better help us determine how to help.. My guess is, that it is an overflow, and in case of power failure, will only let out 10 to 20 gal at the most.. depending on how low you place the release from the wanted water level...I will see if I can find a picture of what I mean and you can tell me if it is what I am talking about...



Does this resemble what you are describing?
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Old 11-16-2003, 08:52 PM   #5
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If, in fact, the setup is like Timbo suggested, this sounds like a great application for a wet/dry. I would not use the UGF. I think it will cause you headaches in the future as it clogs up. If you do use it, I would run it reverse...using powerheads to force water down under the plate and up through the gravel. Pics would be great if you can supply them. Stick with us because we can solve this problem 8) .
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Old 11-16-2003, 10:50 PM   #6
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I agree with loganj on the UG filter being problematic. Mind you, I've always thought that the idea, though so far unrealizable, is a great one. I think somebody should have another shot at the UG concept and equip the filter with a more powerful syphoning mechanism... In theory, it's such a good idea!! So... your new design on this old idea *might* be a step up. However, I'd be wary about using it in such a big tank for now, as completely deconstructing the tank to dispose of the waste under the gravel will be a real pain.

I'm also thinking Wet/Dry filter. When tanks get this large and complex, they're almost always filtered with W/D systems of some sort. Check out www.drsfostersmith.com and www.bigalsonline for ideas. Here's a W/D filter that might be appropriate: http://www.bigalsonline.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi

It won't be cheap! BTW, how much did you pay for the 400 Gallon (if I may ask), and what sort of a stand do you have for it?

Oh, and I'm just *steaming* with envy!
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Old 11-17-2003, 08:46 PM   #7
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I would like to thank all that have contributed so far.
Timbo2 - the picture you posted resembles what I have to work with. There is an overflow tower at one end of the tank. I do not have any type of water limiting device though. If a leak should occur to the pipes within the tower I would have about 20 gallons of water to deal with.
Madasafish - I thank you for the URL's you posted as they may be of quite a bit of assistance. The under gravel filter which I have fabricated is not going to be the problem you addressed. You see I will have air bubblers under the UG platform which will release air thru the gravel, thus forcing water under the UG platform. When I wish to filter or clean the debris from under the UG platform - I have 3 outlets in the bottom of the tank. So there is no need to disassemble the tank to clean it. What I may do is use the bottom outlets to pump the water to waste which will get rid of the accumulated debris and assist in cycling the water.
In answer to your question Madasafish- The aquarium was built by a local manufacturer for an attorney's son. It has a 3 foot tall cabinet under the tank and it is all ONE piece! The measurements are 7 ft llong x 7 feet tall x 2 feet wide. It is finished with a tan laminate. The original cost to the attorney was $8500. and we paid considerably less.
I did see a brand new all glass 375 gallon tank for sale on eBay.com with a starting bid of $996.00 manufacturered in Atlanta, Ga.
Some other problems I may have is providing adequate light for the plants. I have read on this board that 3 watts for every gallon is a guide. This means I shall need 1200 watts of light!!!! Also we have yet to tackle the amount and/or size of heaters we will need to keep the water at optimum levels as it is in an air conditioned room.
P.S. I do have a picture of the aquarium on my computer but am not familar as how to upload it here. Thanks again.[img][/img]
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Old 11-17-2003, 09:29 PM   #8
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Heh, if you click on "post reply" down below, you'll be taken to a page where you can add an attachment...and hurry up! We wanna see *grin*
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Old 11-18-2003, 01:38 AM   #9
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I am jealous... I am planning (dreaming?) a biggish tank with sump & overflow etc., but nothing like yours!

In my research, I came across these pages:

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-01/gt/index.htm
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-04/gt/index.htm
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/gt/index.htm

It tells you how to hook up a sump & overflow so that you will not have 20 gal on the floor if power fails. Basically you have to have a large enough container in your cabinet (a rubber maid will do) to catch all the water that will flow out. You will also have to create some sort of water level limiting device - if I get the picture correctly of your setup - you can do that by raising the central outlet tube in your overflow, or installing an overflow box of some sort. Check out the DIY section in this forum, there had been some good discussion on overflow designs, and DIY wet dry filter. There is also a thread with step by step pics of someone setting up a large tank like yours.

I would love to see a pic of your setup, for more inspiration!
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Old 11-18-2003, 01:56 PM   #10
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If a leak should occur to the pipes within the tower I would have about 20 gallons of water to deal with.
I know you know this, but leaks are what we don't want...

What I was stating was, in the event of a power failure or what not, the stand pipe for the over flow should be adjusted so that you don't get 20 gals of overflowed water should this occur...The reason I say this is, I have mine setup that when I shut off power to my pumps, I get a max of 2 gallon back flow... This means that my overflow ( I use the internal box type), is right under the surface and does not allow the water level to drop in the main tank... I have siphon breaking holes drilled in the returns also... This causes the siphon to break when the back flow occurs... There are many ways of doing this, however, they all point to the same end, and that is to have an efficient flow of water to and fro the tank, and when power fails, stop the water flow...

I think that the articles mentioned by jsoong are great references.... Ones that I have bookmarked for future reading...Kudos are in order...
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Old 11-18-2003, 01:57 PM   #11
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If a leak should occur to the pipes within the tower I would have about 20 gallons of water to deal with.
I know you know this, but leaks are what we don't want...

What I was stating was, in the event of a power failure or what not, the stand pipe for the over flow should be adjusted so that you don't get 20 gals of overflowed water should this occur...The reason I say this is, I have mine setup that when I shut off power to my pumps, I get a max of 2 gallon back flow... This means that my overflow ( I use the internal box type), is right under the surface and does not allow the water level to drop in the main tank... I have siphon breaking holes drilled in the returns also... This causes the siphon to break when the back flow occurs... There are many ways of doing this, however, they all point to the same end, and that is to have an efficient flow of water to and fro the tank, and when power fails, stop the water flow...

I think that the articles mentioned by jsoong are great references.... Ones that I have bookmarked for future reading...Kudos are in order...
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Old 11-21-2003, 04:59 PM   #12
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A solution is at hand. I was able to speak to the company that constructed my aquarium and they helped quite a bit.
#1. The tower was an add on by the previous owner and NOT by the manufacturer. Being it was a home made add-on it lacks the reliability of the factory installed towers. There is no serrated lip to prevent the possible loss of fish and there is NO limiting device other then the level of the water in the aquarium.
#2. The manufacturer stated that the aquarium was designed specifically for a UG filter. They recommend a Little Giant 4-MDQXSC pump thru an enclosed canister filter. The gravel will act as a pre-filter and the inherant problem of accumulation of debri below the screen will be kept to a minimum with the 1350 gph flow thru the three outlets built into the bottom of the aquarium. The intake will be below the gravel with the return placed above the surface thus creating a healthy tank with aeration and filtering.
#3. Any bubbler to be added should be placed above the UG screen and concealed by a thin layer gravel creating a pleasing visual effect and supplementing the aeration.
#4. My aquarium is 12 years old.

Once I have it up and running I'll keep you informed if I have any problems. Thanks for all your help.
P.S. Once my provider allows me to upload the pix I have of the aquarium I shall post them here.
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