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Madmerv

6 foot native tank

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Madmerv

This is a project that has been in the brain for months and is finally getting off the ground.

The inspiration has come from SKAF members and from another forum. Basically i like the idea of keeping native WA shrimp and our endangered Western Pygmy Perch in an outside tank so no heating required. Basically i was after a 4 foot tank and stand for the job and was offered one for free. When i went to pick it up it turned out to be a 3 footer with a hole drilled for a sump filter. Not what i was after but as the guy wanted it gone i decided to take it. The stand it was on was a monstrosity that could hold 6 3 foot tanks for a rack so that is sitting on my patio taking up room for now. 

The 3 footer was cleaned up and i was contemplating what to do with it when i got the opportunity to get a 6 foot tank on a solid wood stand for $100. A bargain you might say but it gets better. The tank glass is in great condition, dirty, and the silastic job is a bit rural but all in all it was good with the stand being industrial. When i said i will take it and how much was it again (old bargainers trick) he said just take it. Great, thanks, leave before he changes his mind. 

The 6 footer will need a lot of filtering so now i have a use for the 3 footer. Time to design and build a sump as well as learn how to drill & cut glass.

New tank just got home.

20161105_230211_zpsummyhzir.jpg

 

The stand was stripped of water damaged wood, sanded back and re-designed to take the sump. Painted the lot and got some black rubber matting for under the tank.

_MG_4345_zpsigi73xvz.jpg

 

Now i just have to design a sump. The hole that is already in the tank is conveniently located for a nice drain hose so that end of the tank will be the pick up chamber. Getting some glass was easy and cheap from the local salvage yard with the only irregularity being some of it is darkened. I have just got my daughter to show me how to do some basic, and i mean basic, computer drawing so this is where i am at the moment. 

Sump%20design_zpsy50q3skv.jpeg

 

Next step is the overflow box. I'm leaning heavily towards a Bean Animal style with the box on the outside.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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Madmerv

Ok got the basics for the overflow done. Designed up and cut the glass with several mistake breakages and a little bit of blood lost.

The design.

Bean%20Animal%20overflow_zps3g9dbnzw.jpe

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Madmerv

Got the arvo off so did some work. Cut the sump dividers and sanded the edges up. Less mistakes and unwanted breakages and no blood today.

Making progress anyway.

 

_MG_4346_zpsha8cnakk.jpg

_MG_4347_zpszrbjqhlx.jpg

_MG_4350_zpst7b7oko9.jpg

_MG_4351_zpsinc3ol3q.jpg

 

You might notice in the first divider photo i only had 1 piece of wood under it. That just didnt look right so after silasticing it i ended up moving it up a bit and made a bit of a mess. I can get my hand down the 100mm section to clean it up if i need to but the small water flow gap is just going to have to stay messy. Lol

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jayc
8 hours ago, Madmerv said:

Got the arvo off so did some work

Excellent work @Madmerv

Love that drain outlet at the far right of the sump. Add a tap there, and it becomes an easy water change outlet. Brilliant idea.

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Madmerv
13 minutes ago, jayc said:

 

Love that drain outlet at the far right of the sump. Add a tap there, and it becomes an easy water change outlet. Brilliant idea.

Was an overflow pipe outlet that the previous owner had in there. Ugly piece of PVC poking up in the middle of the tank and i'm sure as noisy as hell when working. You are dead right but i will be putting a tap and hose connector on there for a drain so i can water the garden while doing water changes.

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DemonCat

Looking great. Can't wait to see how this evolves.

 

Bit of a noob question but I note many 4ft + tanks have sumps. Why choose sump over 1 or 2 large canister filters?

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Madmerv
2 hours ago, DemonCat said:

Bit of a noob question but I note many 4ft + tanks have sumps. Why choose sump over 1 or 2 large canister filters?

Not sure on other peoples reasons @DemonCat but you do get a lot more flexibility with media in a sump and the cost is so much lower. The volume of media in a sump can also be a consideration as there is a lot of room.

My main reason was i had a spare tank so thought i would use it along with all the spare media hanging around my place.

 

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DemonCat
19 minutes ago, Madmerv said:

Not sure on other peoples reasons @DemonCat but you do get a lot more flexibility with media in a sump and the cost is so much lower. The volume of media in a sump can also be a consideration as there is a lot of room.

My main reason was i had a spare tank so thought i would use it along with all the spare media hanging around my place.

 

For 'madmerv' you certainly speak common sense!

Thanks for the info. If (well, when haha) I undertake my dream of a 6ft tank I will look into a sump :)

I look forward to seeing updates!

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jayc
3 hours ago, DemonCat said:

Why choose sump over 1 or 2 large canister filters?

Both filtration methods have their Pros.

Sump:

  • larger than most canisters, so it will hold more media.
  • Easily add/remove temporary media like carbon, purigen to absorb medicines.
  • A wet/dry system can remove more Nitrates
  • no surface scum build up
  • the churning of the water increases aeration/oxygen exchange, but is not good for a CO2 tank.
  • You can run the sump in the opposite light period to the tank to reduce pH fluctuation by setting it up as a refugium.
  • Easier to clean media. You can remove Bioballs or whatever biological filter used and clean all the mulm build up easier than canister filters.
  • You can hide all the usual tank equipment in the sump, like unsightly heaters.
  • A sump can be used to house fry.
  • Water changes are easier with a sump.
  • A sump increases water volume dramatically. As we all know, the more water volume, the more stable a tank is.

 

Canisters:

  • Small foot print
  • Water is physically forced through filter media. That means you can use finer micron filter to really polish the water. Sumps will never get the same water pressure through the filter media.
  • Cost is lower, to some extent, for smaller tanks. A sump becomes more economical for large tanks, especially when one canister is not enough to service a large 4ft + tank.
  • Less evaporation.
  • Less noise. You can hear the water splashing with a sump. 
  • No need to risk drilling holes in a tank.
  • No need to worry about overflow, back drain or power outage designs. ie. Too much water will spill onto the floors. No water during a power outage means you need to ensure the media in your sump is still submerged in water.

There are probably more pros/cons that I can't think of at the moment.

Edited by jayc
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DemonCat

That is a fantastic summary @jayc - should chuck it in a reference section for beginners!

It sounds as though the sump is the way to go, however the big downsides for me are the glass/tank cutting and the worry about overflow and power outage designs. I am not as adventurous or have the ability like @Madmerv. Canister for me - or limiting myself to a 4 ft!

Edited by DemonCat

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jayc
4 minutes ago, DemonCat said:

That is a fantastic summary

?, thanks!

9 minutes ago, DemonCat said:

chuck it in a reference section for beginners!

Nah, too lazy. Beginners should read all posts anyway, lest they miss little gems like this. ?

 

4 minutes ago, DemonCat said:

the big downsides for me are the glass/tank cutting and the worry about overflow and power outage designs

That's a common concern, that's why canisters are the easier choice for many people.

If you can find a reliable source for glass cutting/drilling, then I think you are probably 75% of the way there.

Many people don't have this option to cut glass, and so never get off the ground with sumps.

 

Power outage, overflow and even silent/noiseless designs can be overcome with a quick google to see what designs are out there for copying. But it's the glass cutting hurdle that stops most people. 

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jc12
On 22/11/2016 at 7:16 AM, DemonCat said:

Bit of a noob question but I note many 4ft + tanks have sumps. Why choose sump over 1 or 2 large canister filters?

Everything of what @jayc already mentioned above and I also use my sump:

- Float the brine shrimp hatchery. The sump runs at 28 degree Celsius for discus which is the perfect temperature to hatch brine shrimp eggs for feeding fry.

- Hatch eggs away from parents... e.g. blue rams, corydoras, etc.

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Madmerv

Ok as Tuesday and Wednsday are my weekend i got a bit of progress on this tank. I did get called in for a small 5 hour shift on Tue so not as progressed as i wanted. I had some issues so plenty of learning done.

The media was added to the sump with only one small hiccup. I cut the foam filter material slightly oversize so it would be a snug fit. You may remember that i had a positioning issue with the first panel, well the added pressure from oversize foam popped one side of that panel free and i had to re do it. Starting from the bottom is spacer material, 2 sheets of 65 micron, 2 sheets of denser foam, 3 sheets less dense and 1 sheet of coarse foam. The next chamber has spacer material. noodles and a sheet of 45 micron. Easy to get to it on the top and will help distribute the water evenly. The last chamber has Bio balls as i had a bag spare and thought why not. The balls will be fully submerged, apart from top 2 inches when the pump is running, and i know this is not the most efficient but it will help.

_MG_4475_zpsebsn97qy.jpg

 

As I'm running this on the cheap i have been using whatever is available around the house. Not always the best idea.. I have a tap spliter spare so i put it on the outlet of the sump for a garden hose attachment and when i filled the sump for testing it turns out the splitter was not on a tap for a reason. I had to do a bit of modifying until i get a new valve.

_MG_4483_zpszfysf1rm.jpg

 

Next job was the overflow box and sump plumbing. Mmmm things didnt go as planned here. Glass hole saws can be pretty expensive and as i was only doing 6 holes i went the cheapest i could find. It did the job but not super clean and not super easy. The overflow holes were where i started to give me some practice and because i could cut some more glass to size if things went pear shaped. They did..Lol

_MG_4466_zps17lhkchd.jpg

 

You can see i used a wood template and i used it for the tank also. The bit walked a bit and i must have been using to much pressure, along with a cheap bit, as there are some nice shards on the back side of the holes.

_MG_4468_zpsg1prjifv.jpg

 

Finally it was attach the overflow box and do the plumbing. The box was going to be held in place by a ratchet strap to allow the silastic to dry but it tended to pull the box down so i ended up going with some wood and clamps. 

_MG_4472_zpsfaw6fydh.jpg

 

Now the plumbing has been my biggest headache. The Beananimal design is silent and has a stack of redundance so there should be no accidents (overflows). The problem is the thread for this design is 300 pages long with 15-20 posts per page and unfortunately the link i had directed me to the middle of the thread so i missed a lot of the basics. I worked on this until i was emotionally exhausted last night and was up at 3am today pulling a bit more hair out until i saw that i was in the middle of the thread. A quick jump to page 1 and a few posts later i see where i went wrong.

Basically i had plumbed all 3 lines into a single sump return which created a constant gurgling sound when running. Not what i was after. Anyway i have modified it and now she is going well.

The first photo shows the overflow box but without 2 of the tank outlets in as i still have to make up the shrimp safe filters. The second is the sump return with my modifications from this morning.

_MG_4486_zpsr0565xgo.jpg

_MG_4482_zpsq7fy0xlp.jpg

 

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Madmerv

Work is really getting in the way of progress here but hey, That is life.

A couple of quick photo's of what is going on. Sticking with the DIY theme i'm going with a DIY planted sub.

First up a layer of propagating sand with ferts and marble chips.

_MG_4479_zpsaowvmocq.jpg

 

Top that with some washed pool sand. I didnt have enough so went and got a second bag and of course it was a different supplier and a different colour white. Not to worry as it will all blend eventually.

_MG_4480_zpsyv8o2aoq.jpg

 

Had a touch of leveling to do and i needed some help with this..Lol

_MG_4476_zps3ytlvjnz.jpg

 

And finally add the scape. Grabbed a portable work light for this as a day time shot just gets a stack of reflection. Also the wood is leaching tannins and floating so i weighed it down with some rocks, that will be removed later.

_MG_4490_zpsxqtlzbn9.jpg

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jayc
5 hours ago, Madmerv said:

 

Had a touch of leveling to do and i needed some help with this

Nice touch.

Leave the tannins! It looks really ... nature!

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Madmerv
9 hours ago, jayc said:

Nice touch.

Leave the tannins! It looks really ... nature!

I totally agree about leaving the tannins as this was kind of the look i was after. The river the shrimp come out of is really dark with tannin. 

I only have two problems there. One is that with water changes the wood will end up giving all it is going to and the water will clear up. Can always get more wood or go for alternatives.

Two is the boss dosent like it. End of story. The tannins will have to go.

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Madmerv

Final installment for this build.

First up i was given some stainless steel mesh so sticking with DIY, made up some filter guards. My wife crafts a bit so got hold of her hot glue gun and kind of followed a DIY tip on here to hot glue them together. Used zip ties to hold them in shape and just cut them off and glued over the gaps. Fitted the tank overflow glands and screwed them on as they were that snug a fit.

Freaked out a bit when i realized the overflow holes were now smaller and had the restriction of guards, so the tank now fills up more. The sump emptied more and i thought it might suck dry. The other problem i thought i might have is that if i fill up the sump more i would not have the capacity to hold all the water if the power goes off. No problem in the end when everything settled and i could check the volumes. Turned everything off and let the tank fully drain, topped the sump up to max and switched it all back on. When everything settled again i now have a max running water level. The tank came with a 3000l/h pump and i also installed a 700l/h that was sitting in the shed. Bit of redundancy if the main pump dies so i have time to source a new one and 3700l/h is a good flow.

Next was fix the drain tap. Another bunnings trip and a new tap with a 19mm spigot is now installed. 10m of 19mm flexi  hose to water the garden with and to decrease my water change times.

The lids of this tank did not have any easy way to lift them so knocked up some handles out of the spare glass (cause i'm such a glass cutting guru now).

Finally add some plants.

All photo's had to be taken at night as the reflection was terrible during the day, so i grabbed 2 30cm led's off my other tanks and positioned them, or held them, for the shots.

The filters.

_MG_4504_zpsnhi0odev.jpg

 

Lid handles.

_MG_4505_zpslioktauf.jpg

 

Sump setup.

_MG_4509_zpsdqrvebhy.jpg

 

Rocks holding the wood down. The white rock on the top was proving difficult to tie so i just put it on the small bit of wood that i needed down.

_MG_4502_zpswpfml5pg.jpg

 

And finally a FTS.

_MG_4497_zpsdra10fcx.jpg

 

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Zebra

Yeah that's pretty much exactly how's I did mine, except my water level is halfway across the shrimp guards.

Be careful the way you've done the shrimp guards, in my design I ended up going with 4 holes to rectify This issue, cause if your water level is above the shrimp guards it's likely slowly rising, or going to cause issues And you won't  have much room for error If the guards block. :) this is also why I didn't use proper bulkheads in between the tank and overflow, should still be ok though.

looks good.

 

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Madmerv
16 hours ago, Zebra said:

 I ended up going with 4 holes to rectify This issue, cause if your water level is above the shrimp guards it's likely slowly rising, or going to cause issues And you won't  have much room for error If the guards block. :) this is also why I didn't use proper bulkheads in between the tank and overflow, should still be ok though.

looks good.

 

Thanks for the feedback @Zebra. I guess i could have done a few simple calculations to work out the flow capacity through the bulkheads but honestly i didn't even think it would be an issue. I have had it running constantly now for a few days and the tank is stable but like you mentioned it wouldn't take much, a plant to come loose, to block off some of the flow and disaster would strike. The only way i can see around this is to extend the overflow box, or build a new one, and add another hole or two in the tank. Not an impossibility but it would be pretty hard to move the tank around now with the scape in there. Also i kind of liked the way the water level came up to just under the bracing as this gives it a better look. Something for me to think about and look into. Just thinking on the run i could go for an upturned elbow with an open top as an emergency overflow inside the tank that would only activate if the guards get partially blocked and the water level rises. 

While i'm at it i would like to say a big THANK YOU to @Zebra and @Kaylenna for their great ideas and inspiration on this build. It's people like you that make a forum worth visiting.

Cheers

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NoGi

Great thread, feel free to do a write up for the articles on the sump and overflow design

Are you only keeping WA natives or any OZ natives?

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Madmerv
3 minutes ago, NoGi said:

Great thread, feel free to do a write up for the articles on the sump and overflow design emoji16.png

Are you only keeping WA natives or any OZ natives?

At this stage i really only want to keep WA natives in there. The Western Pygmy Perch is my main target with a plan to breed them and if that goes successfully then there is another Pygmy Perch here in WA that has almost gone extinct in the wild and is now restricted to just the lower south west. I will research up on that one and see if i can get my hand on it.

The other inhabitant will be the Palaemonetes Australis that i have ready for the tank. One of my berried females gave birth the other day and it looks like they are shrimpets and not fry. The quarantine tank they are in is very small and way to clean for shrimpetes as there dosent seem to be as many as before now. They might be in hiding or the others might have got them. The other problem i'm having with them is they dont like algae wafers so a suitable food source needs to be found. So far they are eating bee pollen a bit but seem to like the goldfish flakes i put in the best. A shelled pea soaked in garlic juice seems to be ok as well..:)

3 minutes ago, NoGi said:

Great thread, feel free to do a write up for the articles on the sump and overflow design emoji16.png

Are you only keeping WA natives or any OZ natives?

At this stage i really only want to keep WA natives in there. The Western Pygmy Perch is my main target with a plan to breed them and if that goes successfully then there is another Pygmy Perch here in WA that has almost gone extinct in the wild and is now restricted to just the lower south west. I will research up on that one and see if i can get my hand on it.

The other inhabitant will be the Palaemonetes Australis that i have ready for the tank. One of my berried females gave birth the other day and it looks like they are shrimpets and not fry. The quarantine tank they are in is very small and way to clean for shrimpetes as there dosent seem to be as many as before now. They might be in hiding or the others might have got them. The other problem i'm having with them is they dont like algae wafers so a suitable food source needs to be found. So far they are eating bee pollen a bit but seem to like the goldfish flakes i put in the best. A shelled pea soaked in garlic juice seems to be ok as well..:)

Wow how did that happen?

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Zebra
On 01/12/2016 at 8:38 AM, Madmerv said:

Thanks for the feedback @Zebra. I guess i could have done a few simple calculations to work out the flow capacity through the bulkheads but honestly i didn't even think it would be an issue. I have had it running constantly now for a few days and the tank is stable but like you mentioned it wouldn't take much, a plant to come loose, to block off some of the flow and disaster would strike. The only way i can see around this is to extend the overflow box, or build a new one, and add another hole or two in the tank. Not an impossibility but it would be pretty hard to move the tank around now with the scape in there. Also i kind of liked the way the water level came up to just under the bracing as this gives it a better look. Something for me to think about and look into. Just thinking on the run i could go for an upturned elbow with an open top as an emergency overflow inside the tank that would only activate if the guards get partially blocked and the water level rises. 

While i'm at it i would like to say a big THANK YOU to @Zebra and @Kaylenna for their great ideas and inspiration on this build. It's people like you that make a forum worth visiting.

Cheers

 Originally designed this with "T" pieces, one end covered in mesh going into the water, the other end pointing up just aboveboard the water so there's a backup of the shrimp guards get blocked. :) that's how's I did my 5-bay too.

Can always do this if it gives you dramas. :) 

No worries glad to be a help, I love This site too it's great.

cant wait to see your tank when's it's stocked already has nice native theme to it :)

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Madmerv
14 minutes ago, Zebra said:

 Originally designed this with "T" pieces, one end covered in mesh going into the water, the other end pointing up just aboveboard the water so there's a backup of the shrimp guards get blocked. :)

cant wait to see your tank when's it's stocked already has nice native theme to it :)

Brilliant. 

You just saved me from drilling another hole. The solution literally staring at me as well. Love it.

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Madmerv

A little update here. 

Took @Zebra advice, again, and added a T to the inside of tank and tested it by covering 2 of the overflow guards with paper towel. Works a treat.

This system is so quiet when running that i have noticed an early warning sound that something is wrong. There was a slight trickling sound heard tonight so i went to investigate. As i have just planted it out a bit some of the Vals and a water sprite has melted a bit and shed some leaf material, That was on the shrimp guards and blocking the flow slightly. I mean just. The overflow box water level was down about an inch or so and the sound was the drop the water had to make. Removed the leaves and all is back to silent again.

 

_MG_4529_zpsdk7xwmop.jpg

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Madmerv

Last update for this thread.

The grand design for this tank was to have a WA native only tank housing Palaemonetes Australis and Western Pygmy Perch with no heating and the tank outside. It was always going to be a challenge with changing seasonal light, temp fluctuations and species specific. Things have been challenging.

The WPP and WA glassies do not get along. The entire population of shrimp has been eaten and this is why it will no longer be updated on SKFA. For anybody that might be interested it will continue to be updated on AL.

I still have a few shrimp surviving in a section of the sump that will be relocated to a tank of their own when, if, finances allow.

This is what it looked like a few weeks back.

 

31878453533_59d64f8239_k.jpg_MG_0103 by Merv Hall, on Flickr

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