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nitasher

Rubbermaid...

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Yesterday I spied in my local nnnnnn a 55 gallon rubbermaid tub for $10. The following is the explosion that went off in my head. Please bare with me! I am still trying to work out the bugs with this idea and would love feed back from people who know more about what I am talking about than I do!

I would use the 55 gallon tub for the main aquarium. No substrate, but many plants that are tied to rocks/drift wood. I would build a supporting frame work around and under this tub to keep it from bowing out. It will be placed next to a south facing window so plently of natural light.

From this 55 gallon tub I want to pump the water through some type of mechanical filtration than into a 10 gallon rubbermaid tub that is just above the 55g and to the side. In this tub I would have LOTS of plants and some snails some bio balls and anything else I could stuff in there for the biological filtration. I will have florecent lighting (compact florecent screw-ins) hanging above this tub for the plants. From this tub I will have the water "fall" back into the first 55g tub. Maybe I could even have a trickle tower worked in there some how.

Around the whole "thing" I will use "something" to form fake rocks with nooks and cranies for house plants (not touching aq water.)

Now, the 55g, would it need to be lifted off of the floor? If so, could I add bottom drains for the pump to pull the water from and into the machanical filtration? If not how would I clean the 55g? (I use a vaccuum with the tank I have now.)

Big dreams but I love to build!! :exactly I know enough to know that I know very little. Tell me what I'm missing/forgetting/haven't even thought of! I want to put my to goldies in the 55g and maybe two more.

Oh, My goldies would be sooo happy!

Anita

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So, basically a reinforced 55 rubbermaid indoor pond with a 10 gallon sump running a waterfall in?

Quite doable. I've seen similar things done (though not with rubbermaids).

Unfortunately, I'm not a pond person so I can't tell you the specifics.

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An excellent idea. :D

And very easy to build too.....

Firstly, If the tub is clearish plastic, you'll need to make sure that its a little thicker than most. Clear plastic has a tendency to crack or split if its not thick enough. But, moat plastics nowadays atre very durable so, who knows?

You have many options for supporting the tub. You can build a log cabin style frame around it out of 4x4 green wood. Or you could stack cinderblocks or bricks around it. theres quite a few other way to do it but my personal favorite would be the log cabin style 4x4's.

To build your filter, all youll need is a powerhead/prefilter combo to hang or submerge in the tub, a smaller rubbermaid bin to hold the bio-balls and plants and a few connectors and bulkhead fittings to run the plumbing to and from the filter. The rest is self explanatory.

Here's a couple of links that describe the filter and frame I'm speaking of ( I borrowed this picture from Ranchugirl in the DIY section under "simple and cheap filter") :

Dcp_0468.jpg

And here's another pic I borrowed from Ranchugirl in the pond forum, I think you get the idea of the overall appeal of the log cabin style i'm speaking of. Very nice indeed:

BuildingPond14.jpg

If you have any questions on the specifics of the plumbing or whatever, just fire away! :lol:

Paul

(Andrea, If you are reading this, I hope you don't mind me linking to your pics. I couldn't think of any better examples than yours. ;) )

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Thanks for the reply, toothless! I was planning on doing a fake rock thing, but this looks much easier and neater. Plus I could build a shelf for a trickle tower with a shelf above that for my plant filter, all wrapped with the land scape ties. (With access doors of course.)

I don't think I will have a water fall feature because of the off gassing of C02 (or is that a mute point concidering the trickle tower) and the noise. After all it is going to be in the house. On the other hand, I have three boys and maybe a water fall would muffle some of their noise! :rofl

Any thoughts on a bottom drain? How would I circulate that amount of water? What would be a good pre-filter? Where should I place the pre-filter/machanical filter? What is a good pump? How many gph? Would gph mess with the plants in the filter? Where should the water enter the plant filter, back, bottom? Will gravity work for the filter~trickle tower~aquarium? Do I build a platform for the tank so I am able to vaccuum the bottom?

All the help you can give when it comes to plumbing is needed!! I have "fixed" the kitchen sink twice and the hot water still leaks! :lol:

So much to think about before I start! I love the planning stage of any project!

Anita

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Okey dokey, here goes:

You dont need a bottom drain. With a powerhead/pre-filter, you just lay then down on the bottom and it picks up all the poo and uneaten food and traps it in the sponge or floss or both before it pipes the water up and into the plant/biofilter. Besides, if you want to go modifying a cheap plastic storage bin thats suppose to hold 500 Lbs of water and plants. If you wanted to get all tech like that, I would go with one of the pre-formed ponds that come in some nice round variations. I think they even have 50 gallon sizes too. Those, if i'm not mistaken have a little recess built in just for bottom drains too. Here's a link to a good source: pre-formed ponds

there are other styles available elsewhere on the net that may also suit your taste. All you have to do is build a simple table around it for the rim to sit on.

if you'd still like to go with your original idea, just make sure to buy a bin that has a little strength to it.

For every ten gallons of water the pond holds, you want 100gph pump. For a 50 gallon tank, you want 500gph. But, your planning on having an extensive filtration system so you don't need all that much gph in the end. maybe 300gph total. However, you can just buy a pump thats rated a little higher than you need and have a ball valve to control the flow.

Are you thinking of having a trickle tower for just 50 gallons of water? AAANd a plant filter? How about just having a plantfilter that has bio-balls down in the bottom of it? Wouldn't that cut a whole stage out of the equation? If your woried about not having enough oxy for the bio-bugs, you could always drop an aerator down in the bottom.

Dataguru (a mamber here at kokos) has a plantfilter that does just this for her 55 gallon (well planted) tank. Here's a link to her page: Bett's Aquarium Page

Check out her plantfilter there. I think you'd like to talk some shop with her. She's sharp as a tack! :D

As far as a platform, what exactly are you referring too? An edge you can lean on/put plants on? If you leave very little gravel at the bottom, you wont have to vacuum at all, the pump at the bottom with the pre-filter does all the work for you. Of course, hitting it up with the vac every now and then can't hurt.

Plumbing is the easy part, those will be the final purchases as we need to know the hardware we're working with first.

Keep those questions coming :lol:

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I have read much about DataGuru's plant filter! It was her filter that inspired my own ideas. Thank-you for the links! The pre-formed ponds are wonderful but the more I think about it the more I like the pond liner idea. I could biuld the pond any shape I wish and as deep as I want. Plus, landscape ties around a rubbermaid seems like a waste of space. (Rubbermaid tapers the containers at the bottom and the top edge is "curvey." A pond liner would form itself into all the corners of any shape I build.)

Yes, my plan is for a plant filter and a trickle tower!! lol I know its over kill. I don't think I will put in the trickle tower. It's just very winter here, and I am going crazy not doing anything. I can't garden, build, play outside with my 3 ds, nothing. :krazy:

I'm looking into pumps. My lfs only has one and it is tiny! I will need to order one online. Do you know a good store?

I was thinking I might need to raise the tank up on a PLATFORM so I could siphon the poop off of the bottom of the tank. I think the pre-filter and pump will take care of that for me.

I am sure I have more questions, but I will be very buisy this next week so I won't be here to ask them. Thank-you for all of your help!! :D:D

Anita

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If you decide to go the pondliner route, Make well and sure that you double or even triple ply the liner. Being that this project is an indoor one, You have to secure yourself against leaks. ;)

When you get started, try taking photos so we can see the project taking form. That would be especially cool! :lol:

Good LucK!

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Neat idea. :)

I've been considering building an indoor pond, but I don't think I'm going to.

You could put your mechanical and biological filtration media in the plant filter. I've seen barrel filters like that. They have baskets kinda like the cannister filters do. the water runs thru the mechanical filtration first. That'd be a pain tho I think.

I'd get a mag drive pump. Uses less electricity.

You'll want to read up on pump head pressure

http://www.aquariumpros.com/articles/headpress.shtml

Check this trickle filter out: http://www.geocities.com/michael_mcquay/TT/TT.html

That's the most efficient biological filter you could make. Lots of O2 for the biobugs and it's suppose to help by gassing off nitrAtes.

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What an awesome trickle filter idea! :D

You know what I really like about it? The fact that the pond isn't unundated by rippling water everywhere. It has a calm and serene surface that allows you to see right down into the water. :)

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Woke up to the powerhead making noise and and not pumping and a very full aquarium this morning. Glad I had some leeway or I would have had a wet living room. I almost ordered a pump and the plumbing stuff I'd need to re-plumb the plant filter today. Dr Fosters and Smith had some decent prices on pumps.

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If its not too much to ask, could you guys post the exact supplies I would need and how much each of them would cost if I wanted to do this indoors with maybe a 20 to 30 gallon tub to be used as a tank, not a pond?

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Well, honstly, all you really need is a 20-30 gallon tub, a powerhead (200-300gph) with sponge filter attachment, a flourescent light strip and a bit of gravel for the bottom.

Everything else is extra and can be considered personal preferences.

The tub would run about 5-25 dollars

The powerhead with sponge filter attachmentruns about 10-30 dollars

A light strip costs anywhere from 15-50 dollars

My reasons for suggesting such a simplistic setup for a 20-30 gallon tub/pond is that the gallonage is so low that a huge bio-filter with trickle tower and all would just be excess.

Does that help any? :huh:

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That trickle filter is awsome! I like the "earthiness" of it.

Well, it looks like I will get to plan for a longer period of time. It turns out we might be moving. Time will tell. No use setting it all up only to have to move it. Maybe I could build just the plant filter and use it on my 29 gallon!

Data, I am worried about flooding. I was going to have gravity feed the water back into the tank through tubing close to the top of the planted filter. If the power cuts out the pump will stop filling the filter. Would a "one-way-valve" prevent the water from the filter going back through the pump and into the tank? Or am I over simplifing?

Anita

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So, Paul, you found my pictures, hm? :lol:

Anita, I didnt' worry about backflow when I did the filter in the first picture Paul posted - the hose coming from the pump and going up to the filter hangs only lightly over the rim of the filter, and maybe an inch or so into the water. If the power stops, the hose connection to the pump only can suck up that one inch of water, until the hose end is dry, and the suction stops.

Same thing with the overflow in the tank. If you have the overfow high up in the filter, it will go dry after only an inch or so. The filter will contain the main part of its water. I could have put the two white overflow pipes a bit higher, but since the main tank didn't hold water all the way to the top, I didn't worry too much.

The plant filter idea in general is a wonderful one. I have 3 of those running. Actually, 1 of them acts as the main filter of a 160 gl tub, the other two are after a smaller main filter.

The one filtering a whole tub by itself holds both materials, for biological filtration (bioballs) and mechanical filtration (sponges). Not to mention that the gunk naturally settles on the bottom of the filter, thats why its so important the the overflow back into the main tank is higher up. If its too low, it will suction up the waste on the bottom back into the main tank. All I ever do for maintanance on that filter is vaccuuming off the bottom, and rinse the sponges every now and then, thats all. I gotta take a picture of the filters now, they are little different than the one above. :)

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Fast question for Betty - do you have the plants in your filter in pots? :unsure:

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Thanks Ranchugirl! Your ponds are very cool. The landscape ties give me a thrill and I have some in the back ysrd!! :lol: I was thinking of having the water pumped from the tank into a pond pot filled with filter floss for the machanical filteration and from there it would drain/fall into the plant filter. Think that'll work? Or must I filter out particals before the water reaches the water pump? I would love to only need the plant filter! Filters are ugly and cumbersome. I need to clean my Aqua Clears every week.

Why did you use two overflow pipes ffrom the filter to the tank? Just to "make sure" there wouldn't be an over flow problem?

Thanks everyone. I think setting thinks up like "this" is going to look so cool plus I think it will be cheaper than a normal aquarium. (No one has ever accused ME of being normal, so this must be the way to do it! :teehee )

Anita

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You can eliminate the need for the filter floss in a pot by utilizing a prefilter on the powerhead at the bottom of your pond. In fact, Aquaclear powerheads that have the optional prefilter cages are made so that the floss cages are stackable for more floss area and it can go longer between floss changes. Plus, with the plant filter, you wont have to worry aboutlosing any bio-bugs on the floss and youll be able to just "toss" the old sheet and add a new one! :D

Heres a link to a pic of the unit im talking about:

prefilter/stackable

With the pond size your talking about and the big plantfilter, heres the size aquaclear powerhead you need to run the prefilter attachment on:

aquaclear 402

This little unit with the prefilter attachment really does a good job of keeping the water clean. Theyre stackable and to boot, they come with little plastic media chambers for adding whatever you like. As I said above, you can buy bulk filterfloss and just wrap it with new once a week for crystal clear water. (do I sound like a salesman yet? :rolleyes: )

Last but not least, there is a special sleeve you can buy for pretty cheap that filters out the really fine stuff (1 micron). Run this sleeve in the prefilter for a few hours ater tank maintenance and you get water that looks like its welling up out of a spring! :D

Just a few suggestions..... :D

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WOW! Thanks for the links, toothless! I sent my husband the power head link with the implication that I would like it. It is surprising how inexpensive it is. The LFS is very high priced.

I like the pre-filter, too! I've been trying to invent something like that in my head. Next time I won't waist my time, I'll just ask you! :rofl Does it say on the box what size tubing to use?

It's all coming together quite well, in my imagination. I am going to build the plant filter and have it going "great guns" before I build the pond.

Any idea how I will keep my cats out of the pond? They really like to sit on top of the tanks and drink the water coming from the filters! No one has reached in yet but any ideas how to end the problem before it starts will be wonderful.

Anita

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Anita, the only reason I have two pipes for the outflow is that the pump I used is a rather strong one, and with just one outflow the filter would have overflowed, since one outflow alone wasn't able to handle the mass of water coming into the filter. With a weaker pump one outflow would have been enough.

My cats used to drink from the water as well, until both of them fell in (not at the same time though :lol: ). That was the end of my cats coming too close to the tank, EVER! :rofl For covering the rubbermaid you can use a sheet of egg crates (cut to size) that I saw in Homedepot in the lighting section.

post-6-1109557943_thumb.jpg

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Thanks Ranchugirl! The only problem I have with that is that it is quite...erm...ugly! :blink: I might need to teach them some water safety. Get to close and you will go for a swim, guys! :bump:

I'm to sleepy to think! And type!! Good night!

Anita

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Im not exactly sure what the outer diameter of the 402 powerhead return is but I'll see what I can dig up. I do know that youll want to clamp whatever hose you use with a plastic clamp though, no metal......

Heh, I get to live vicariously through you! I will one day have an indoor pond much like what you are designing! :heart

Its late for me too, gnite! :)

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:D Thanks for the cost advice toothless, so the most it would cost me would be about $105?
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Probably at or around that price for a 30 gallon tub/pond. Of course, if you wanted to get all top quality new stuff, it would run a bit more. :)

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My DH says he will get the power head for me! I apealled to his fruggle (sp) minded-ness. I told him I could use this one power head to power one plant filter that will replace the three filters I have on the GF tank. Saving money! :clapping: Of course I failed to mention the need for lights. ;) The filter will be in a south facing window and if I use mostly "house plants" this should be enough light!

I am excited! :bounce

Anita

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Alright! :D

Your lovin it then! Are you getting two and connecting them? By the way, the powerhead will work much better if it is laid down on the bottom. this way, more floss surface is near the bottom and muck will be sucked up much faster.

So, what are the dimensions of the frame your going to build? We can figure out the actual gallonage for you.

I would say the maximum size plantfilter you would need is 3-5 gallons. Go with the 5 gallons if you want to grow floaters like duckweed for your fish to eat.

Do you have any ideas for creating a failsafe method of keeping the return on the plantfilter free of debris? This is perhaps one of the more important design aspects of your whole project. I've been tooling with this is a design that I want to employ on my own plantfilter when I build one.

post-1193-1109621681_thumb.jpg

The black hose coming up the backside is the intake from the powerhead/prefilter. the prefiltered water comes in circulates around and does its thing in the plantroots and bioballs on the bottom and is then forced to go through a sheet of plastic canvas (long red line) once in this area that should remain void of anything but water, it is forced through a little box made of plastic canvas and silicone. then down the return tube and srayed across the surface of the pond.

There are all kinds of neat little gadjets that you could buy that makes construction a breeze but I prefer the much cheaper DIY route. A little silicone and some ingenuity goes a long way. ;)

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