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Arctic Mama

The 80 gallon, drilled, plumbed, insane build of DOOM.

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So. My husband is helping with my new 80 gallon (72x14x12 inch) aquarium. He is Engineer (PE, SE, and a fair bit of mechanical in undergrad, too). This means my new tank just got veeeery complicated.

The cabinet the tank came with was mounted the man's house, and had to be cut out. It's essentially useless now, and the aforementioned engineer wasn't satisfied it would carry the loads as he wanted, so now he and our cabinet maker friend are redoing the cabinet completely.

It is three modules that bolt together underneath in several places, so it can be taken apart and moved much more easily. We had leftover rosewood in his shop, so apparently it will be a rosewood stand :D.

The tank is drilled in three different spots and we will not only be running my two canisters in line from the bulkheads, but my husband decided to help me get more tank volume by using two 8 inch by six foot pressured PVC cylinders, complete with clean out, to give an additional 32 gallons or so of water volume, for a total of 112-115 gallons of capacity overall, once the canisters are in place. This overcomes the disadvantages of a sump system where you gave inherent instability of water volume and the threat of overflow and flooding. It's more like have a *really really* big canister under there, with no leaking issues.

T-d off the bottom of that would be a gate valve for clean out of the whole system and to hook up a hose and my (free with this aquarium) pump to drain and refill the whole thing without needing a Python (which woud utility sink can't handle, the threads are too weak).

The whole system will also be getting in a built in suspended light fixture off a gooseneck with two four foot daylight fluorescents, two two foot daylight fluorescents, and two two foot plant builds running down the middle of the six foot fixture. I'm hoping to having it about six inches above the top of the tank to get good coverage.

I'll be running a sponge over the outflow from the tank to have some backup biological filtration and reduce the suction of the grate down to the two in line canisters. My crazy, genius husband is convinced this isa superior and easy solution overall - gate valves, one inch tubing, PVC, mounted lights, pump, and a false floor covering the PVC tubes so I can still store my qt tank under the stand to keep it out of the way. This whole tank also backs up to a bookshelf island we already made, and I'll be able to access the shelf on it from isnide the cabinet for additional storage.

I asked him for some CAD of the plumbing but he said he'd rather just build it and have me take pictures than him spend four hours drawing it up. So step one is poking our friend into finishing the cabinet unit for us. Then it should go very quickly. But he has to finish a refrigerated kiosk for a doctor first, so we are thinking it is a two week wait or so from here. I'm excited to get started!

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I'll keep this thread updated with pieces of the build as it progresses, but it's too late tonight to do photos. Should be fun and hopefully this solution to the water volume/flooding/sumps suck problem can help someone else. My husband gets a kick out of thinking up optimized solutions and ignoring how everyone else does things.

He's ornery like that.

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It all sounds very technical!  I'm looking forward to hearing more and seeing some pictures.  I'm also extremely jealous you have a new tank project going on. :)

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Ha! Don't be :). It's been three years in the making, with the original plan being to do our own acrylic build and money and time just disappeared for it. Finally I saw this on Craiglist, for a screaming deal of a price, and snatched it as my 29th birthday present. And since the cabinet was toast, and it's sitting on our living room floor, now we *have* to move forward with it.

Mwahahahaaaa!

My poor goldfish were in a murky, cracked Rubbermaid bin in my bedroom for eighteen months prior to me picking up this cheap 20 gallon hospital tank (the crack was getting worrisome). It was about as ghetto and inadequate as they come!

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I can't wait to see it~! 

 

Oh, and something for the weak thread problem, should you need the python again: Link

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I attempted reading this thread way too early, but let's face it, I'd probably still be hearing the "WompWomWomp Womp" voice of adult Peanuts.. people.

Will try back later, but it sounds very exciting. :rofl

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This. Sounds. Amazing!

 

I'd love to have the opportunity to make a fancy, customized set up someday.

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This sounds soooooo amazing.... I cant wait to see the progress!  I would be super excited too!  :happydance

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This is the 80 gallon drilled acrylic aquarium, in the spot the cabinet will go. It will be level with the current built in and thus the tanks already there will only be visible from one side. The kids bookshelf will be covered by the cabinetry and become a storage area for medications, bottles, tests, etc.

post-21474-0-46211000-1433793870_thumb.j

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Oh man that is going to look fantastic!!! :o :o

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This was the originals listing and cabinet. What we didn't know what that the man blocked the cabinet to the studs and joists of his house. An hour and a sawzall later, we were left with mostly pieces of cabinet guts and the facing of the cabinet, wobbly but in tact. The man was clearly afraid this might get up and walk away at some point, so he built it into the main stringers of his home. Me and Craiglist dude didn't realize this, of course, until we tried to remove it. :scared

post-21474-0-45765800-1433795005_thumb.j

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My husband was none too pleased at his attempts at structural soundness, and this is what we were left with once he destroyed it.

post-21474-0-31327600-1433795307_thumb.j

post-21474-0-01162100-1433795329_thumb.j

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I can't wait to see this unfold!

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Right now we are arguing about filtration. Both are equally easy to plumb and both are beneficial in their own way, with minimal drawbacks. It's a hard choice!

Option A - the two Sunsun canisters in series, with a fluidized sand bed filter at the end of the line and the canisters optimized with different media (course to fine filters pads in the first, volcanic rock and ceramic in the second)

Option B - the two Sunsun canisters in parallel, each with its own fluidized bed, manifolded together upon return. This would allow full redundancy and removal of one canister at a time to use on the qt tank or for servicing. It also ups my biological filtration even more. The downside is that I would be able to stage my filtration as individually as customizing them in serial - the canisters would be jacks of all trades, but not specialized unitaskers.

The outflow to the canisters will be fitted with a sponge, regardless, to help diffuse the flow pressure at that outflow, protect the fish from the grate, and give just a little more bio filtration, too. Both canisters have UV clarifying capacity, but if I want better UV sterilization I should also run a module in line. This could be added at a later date if need be, though.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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The weak link of my system is surface area, because much of the water volume will be in a closed system below the aquarium (essentially a cheap aquarium adding volume to my more expensive aquarium up top, along with immense filtration). Because the eight inch PVC is SO wide, the head pressure and flow rate in that part of the system will be quite still compared to the one inch line feeding the tank. Still, current shouldn't be a huge issue, but aeration will be.

With that much water (I asked my husband if he could shoot for 140 gallons and he said he could, but I'd lose the ability to store my qt tank under the stand with that much pipe and the clean outs) and the surface area of the display tank, it would be good to add additional gas exchange.

We kicked around the idea of an air pump like Fusion or even a DeWalt air compressor, fed into the return to the tank right near the top (this would protect the canisters from air bubbles, which are bad juju). But then the engineer, ever the nerd, started musing that with the pump/head pressure we are talking about we could just add a five dollar fitting near the bulkhead and allow the Bernoulli principle to draw in air passively to that flow, bubbling and aerating it as it rushed by. Not unlike the way a Python Syphon works, but with air instead of water being drawn in.

Bernoulli technically explained, for anyone interested: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/pber.html

There is mulling, but no decisions yet. Opinions are welcome but may be shot down with glee by the resident designer and builder of the insane system of DOOM ;)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Well hopefully I'll be clear enough on the build and plans that anyone could replicate the plumbing to gain more water volume for their show tank size :)

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I feel like I almost 'get it', but not quite.  :lol2

Sounds really awesome though!

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We keep poking out friend, who just did the install on his last project on Friday. He has cut the pieces for the cabinet, a countertop in our kitchen, and a damaged unit from our popup trailer. Fortunately the panel saw cuts for the tank are the easiest of the three, which means he will probably do it first!

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We finally got enough things moved to get the panel saw working on my aquarium. All exterior panels are now notched and my husband will just need to use a jigsaw to fully cut out the doors and then build the support structure in the interior. That's coming up this weekend, I believe.

Here is a sneak peek of the cabinetry from the shop:

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The door panel is upside down from the configuration it will have in the final cabinet. Because we are using PVC to increase the water volume in the filtration and return system (like a sump, but pressurized and with no risk of overflow because it is sealed) we will be hiding that in the bottom of the aquarium stand. Also, having the doors not be the full front of the cabinet increases the structural capacity of the cabinetry' facing, which is never a bad thing.

There are three of those front panels total for a length of about 74 inches (the tank, itself, is 72 inches). I haven't been given final measurements from my spouse and woodworking friend. Details to come.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Right now we are arguing about filtration. Both are equally easy to plumb and both are beneficial in their own way, with minimal drawbacks. It's a hard choice!

Option A - the two Sunsun canisters in series, with a fluidized sand bed filter at the end of the line and the canisters optimized with different media (course to fine filters pads in the first, volcanic rock and ceramic in the second)

Option B - the two Sunsun canisters in parallel, each with its own fluidized bed, manifolded together upon return. This would allow full redundancy and removal of one canister at a time to use on the qt tank or for servicing. It also ups my biological filtration even more. The downside is that I would be able to stage my filtration as individually as customizing them in serial - the canisters would be jacks of all trades, but not specialized unitaskers.

The outflow to the canisters will be fitted with a sponge, regardless, to help diffuse the flow pressure at that outflow, protect the fish from the grate, and give just a little more bio filtration, too. Both canisters have UV clarifying capacity, but if I want better UV sterilization I should also run a module in line. This could be added at a later date if need be, though.

 

Arctic Mama, this is amazing... What a tank you are going to have... and ohhhhh the fish you could fit in it!!!! :happydance

 

I have a question, well a few actually;

 

When putting two canisters together 'inline', does that increase the velocity of the water in the second canister and outlet, or does it just perpetuate the existing velocity created by the first canister thereby reducing the outlet flow (or the volume two canisters individually would put back into the aquarium if run separately) but increasing the filtration?  Does that make sense??? :doh11:

 

If the two filters were both 'inline' would you only ever have to clean the first out being the mechanical filtration?  How would that affect the cycle?  Also, how often would you have to clean the biofilter one if it needed cleaning?  and how would that affect the cycle?

 

This has got me intrigued! :hummm  :clapping:

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This sounds so technical to me LOL. but I can't wait to see the finished result!

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Thanks Mandy! After two weeks of insane work trips and fishing season, my husband is again making progress on the cabinet. It's been cut and I am praying we will see some assembling here in the next week. Jeff will be shipping my fish this Monday because the weather is finally dipping below 90 degrees in his area, so I am on the clock! I'd like to get Otto and Momoko out of my qt tank so the newbies can go in.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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