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Entries in this blog

Some Reasonable News

After a lot of thought, I've decided to put my dream tank project on hold somewhat indefinitely. I am going to sell the tank I have now and get a largeish, normal one in its place. I am thinking 75 gallon, which has a very similar footprint to the current one so I know it will look great in the spot I have picked out. This was a really hard decision to make, as I've put a lot of time, effort, and money into this, but it's gotten to the point where it's overwhelming and no longer fun. I did know

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Success! I think. Also: a video tour!

I think this time it worked! Things seem to be running pretty smoothly. Here's a video tour of my setup as it is right now. You might want to mute it as the only sound is me being dumb and running my hand over the microphone accidentally. (oops.)

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Gettin' Back on the Horse

So, after a minor setback of sump implosion, I am back into planning and implementing the setup of my big rimless tank. This time, I decided to go with canisters as the filtration. I've been moving house of late and almost all of my energy is going into doing things to the new house, so I decided it might be better to just go premade for the moment. Of course, this required a lot of new plumbing bits. I'm not gonna lie, putting together plumbing connectors has been my favorite part of all this

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Tank Test #1: Quite a fail. For now.

So... it's been a while since I posted anything to this blog. Because it's been a while since I did anything with my giant tank. But it was moved to my new house this past Tuesday, so I figured it was definitely time to get moving on putting it all together. I carefully assembled all the pieces. Then we measured for and installed some plant hooks, which I will use to suspend the light fixture. Oh, it looked so good. Like this: Then I filled it with water! That was exciting, and nerve-wrackin

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The Sump is Finished!

Here are some pictures of the finished product: The water flows down through the filter sock, then will go through bags of ceramic media that I will rest on the platform in the bottom left. The water will then flow up and over the baffle into the drip tray and down over the baskets of bio-balls. The bottom area in the middle and right is where my heaters and my return pump will live. The only thing I added here that I haven't already documented is a piece of tubing that i made a slit in to

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Sump Construction!

The last and arguably most important piece of plumbing is upon us: the creation of the sump. You can read about my plans here. I created the insides of the sump earlier, and wrote about it here and here. Today I siliconed the acrylic baffles into my sump! I was sort of lax on taking pictures, but I'll show you what I've got. Maybe it'll be better to see the process pictures and then read what I did. Basically, what I did was this: Mark with a dry-erase marker on the outside of the tank a

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Mama always said not to put all my eggs in one basket...

Bio-balls are kind of like eggs, right? So, continuing on with the work on my sump, I made a whole bunch of stuff out of egg crate. Egg crate is a plastic grid that's actually meant to be installed under a fluorescent light to diffuse the light around the room, but which is actually beloved the world over by DIY aquarium enthusiasts. The first things I made are a couple of media baskets to hold my bio-balls. Two, in fact. Why two? Well, bio-balls have a bad reputation for being "nitrate facto

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DIY Sump: Drip Tray

We get our new house in a month! Which means I need to get my butt moving on my sump so things are ready to go when we move. Luckily Petco came through finally with their dollar per gallon sale and I've got the tank for it now. But at the moment I'm working on some of the inner pieces. Today I made a drip tray for my sump. I chose as a base this very fine acrylic picture frame I bought at Michaels for a few dollars: The frame measures 11 by 14 inches, so it just fits within the plastic fram

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Spray Bar! :)

It's been a long time since I've updated y'all on the progress of my big tank. I haven't done much lately; I've been busy finding a house to put the big tank in! I did manage to put together the spray bar, the last piece of the plumbing, this week. This is how the spray bar sits in the return hole in the top of the overflow. I started by just kind of doing a mockup of it to make sure I had good lengths for everything and it all fit. This part fits surprisingly snugly, which is kind of nice.

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Plumbing II: Return of the Water

I have finally gotten almost all of my return plumbing done! For the plumbing from the sump back to the tank, I decided to use flexible clear tubing, which has been an adventure. I think I might almost prefer working in PVC. Anyway, I now have tubing that goes up from the pump: Out of the sump: And then splits to return to the tank. Only half of it is completely shoved together, because I want to be able to take it all apart to move it. As you can kiiiiinda see in that last picture, I d

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Sump Design

I don't have the tank I want to use as a sump yet, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about how I am going to put it together once I get it. I've spent a lot of time looking at other people's sumps, but as with everything (it seems), I feel the need to tinker and make my own design. In this particular case, what I want is the ability to install my Aquaclear 50 hang-on-back filter on the sump itself. This will give me this ability to keep it cycled, in case I need to use a cycled filter in a

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Completely Drained

I am finished with my PVC plumbing now! Hooray! After my adventure with the unions, the only thing left to do was get the draining water from the unions down into my sump. Some background: my tank is 48 inches long, but my sump will be only 30 inches long. The drain and return holes are in the middle of the tank. Originally, my plan was to put my sump all the way to the left in the bottom of the stand, and have the drains pull the water over to the left, while it went more or less straight back

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Totally Pumped

There's not much point to this post other than to exclaim about how excited I am that my return pump has arrived! It's a Danner Supreme Mag Drive 9.5. The 9.5 is how many hundreds of gallons per hour it pushes, in theory. At about 5 feet of head (the distance it needs to push the water upwards) it should be more like 685 gph, according to the manufacturer's website. I will probably lose a few more gphs when I tee the return off into two different lines, and when it goes up and around the return

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In Order to Form a More Perfect Union

Today I started work on the plumbing below the tank going into the sump--the parts that the standpipes I just built will drain down into. I had a great plan for this! I decided I wanted to use union connectors immediately under my tank, so that I could disconnect my drain pipes if I need to clean or maintain them. A union connector is three pieces that look like this: They go together like this: Union connectors allow you to join your plumbing parts together in a way that allows you to unf

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Standpipes, Part Two

So I made some standpipes, in Part One of this adventure. Up till this point, I followed exactly the directions I found for making them. But being myself, I can't help but try to tinker with something, so I had a few deviations from the design that I wanted to make. The first adjustment I made involved the cap on the top of the standpipe. I didn't talk about this cap in the first entry on these standpipes, but the cap is a very important part of this particular design. If the standpipe had just

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Standpipes, Part One

Today I worked on my first actual plumbing project for my new tank: the standpipes! Standpipes are, well, pipes. And they sit in the overflow box and act as intakes for the flow down into the sump. There are lots of reasons to use standpipes, but for me, there are basically two: I want better control over the amount of water that can flow down into the sump in the event of a power outage or just turning off the pump, and also I want to limit the amount of waterfall/flushing noise generated by m

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Fillin' Some Holes

I got my first shipment of plumbing parts today, so I got to get started (barely) on setting up the plumbing for my new tank. The first step was to turn my tank around so the back is facing the front, to make it easier to work on. Man, that tank is heavy. Anyway, it has some holes in it, you see, and they look like this: The two outer ones measure 1.5 inches in diameter, and the two inner ones measure 1.75 inches in diameter. These holes are where the water in the tank drains out into the fil

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In the Beginning

Ever since I first joined Kokos a fairly large handful of years ago, I've wanted a big aquarium. I drooled over large setups in LFSs for years... but it was never the right time for such a purchase. At first, I was a poor college kid so it was a purely theoretical exercise. Then I was in a series of fairly temporary housing situations, so having a tank at all was somewhat difficult. Eventually, after looking and looking and looking I decided that if I was going to go, I should go all out and get

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