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Arctic Mama

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

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Here are the two fluidizes sand bed filters - one will be running normal sand, one will be running replacement marine oolitic sand to buffer the tank a bit. My water isn't as alkaline as goldfish like so this should help a little.

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Can't wait for the finished product and also are sand beds expensive??

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Oy! It's been forever since I updated, my apologies!

The cabinet is 90% done but we really want to get the fish into the main tank before we go on a vacation, so we ghetto'd in plumbing from the bulkheads we already fitted out. Right now hubby is doing the finishing work on the cabinet and fitting the hinges to the doors and frame. The PVC lower tank volume is all done, now we are just putting it together.

So - this is the tank on the floor with one pair of filters (we are fitting them in parallel for full redundancy so I can change one out without touching the other and bypass if need be). Fish will be dropped in tonight, this Sunsun has been running upstairs for six months.

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Edited by Arctic Mama

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Can't wait for the finished product and also are sand beds expensive??

I missed this comment initially. Sorry! No, fluidized sand beds aren't overly expensive, I believe each of that size was $70-ish USD plus another $10 for the marine sand, so $150 for the biological filtration capacity of 160 gallons for each one (so 320 total gallons, plus two enormous Sunsuns as well). Their is cheaper biofiltration available (good sponges and matten walls are a favorite of mine) but running these inline with both canisters is by far the easiest bang for the buck in my setup.

More info on these awesome filters here:

http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/FluidizedSandFilter.html

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It's really coming along nicely!!!!

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So..... I've been lazy on updates and we have been insanely busy. But my husband and I cleared our latest logjam of work and projects and are actually close to done.

The three cabinet modules and lower PVC tubing is in and two of due four filters are hooked up. On Saturday we will plumb the top tank permanently to the bottom plumbing and cutoff valves and then it's just decorating and eventually making the light fixture. The fish have been living in this on my floor for the last four months with a ghetto filter setup to work as a stopgap measure so it is nice to have it up and looking more permanent. Here are some pictures from tonight.

Empty bottom units being bolted together.

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Bottom plumbing in, units flush, tank in position on top and being refilled.

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Excuse any funky photo orientation, I'm not awesome at this :teehee

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Glad everything is almost done. But I see a toddler, a fish tank? Not so much!

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Oh he goes fishing regularly in it since it has been on the floor. It's definitely all eyes watching him. He is too short to get in the top of it with more than a few fingers but we are very careful :). I'm thrilled it is up now because there is no chance of danger. *I* can barely get in the top, it's almost as tall as me!

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I see the tank setup now. Nice! Hope to see it when its all done. Way more than my competence allows. Extremely impressive.

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I really thought this was done and you just forgot to post about it! :teehee

Getting close now! It's going to be Amazing! :happydance

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So..... I've been lazy on updates and we have been insanely busy. But my husband and I cleared our latest logjam of work and projects and are actually close to done.

The three cabinet modules and lower PVC tubing is in and two of due four filters are hooked up. On Saturday we will plumb the top tank permanently to the bottom plumbing and cutoff valves and then it's just decorating and eventually making the light fixture. The fish have been living in this on my floor for the last four months with a ghetto filter setup to work as a stopgap measure so it is nice to have it up and looking more permanent. Here are some pictures from tonight.

Empty bottom units being bolted together.

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Bottom plumbing in, units flush, tank in position on top and being refilled.

attachicon.gifimage.jpeg

Excuse any funky photo orientation, I'm not awesome at this :teehee

He is so cute!!!!!!!

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Little plumbing update - the left side is the suction/outflow from the tank, the right two arms are the parallel filter lines and their cut offs. We are running one sand filter and one canister on each line, fully paralleled, so I can bypass and disconnect either side as needed.

Not pictured is the hose hookup/clean out valve at the bottom of the plumbing assembly so I can drain the system without a python :)

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Edited by Arctic Mama

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This is the most awesomely confusing fish tank monstrosity I've ever seen. Whatever fishies you put into it better appreciate the hard work that was done and live long and happy lives lol. I wish I was capable of something like this!

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Explanation time, for Myra and others (like me!) who don't visualize as well as my weirdo spouse :teehee

It's a little confusing because we are showing it in parts, but basically we wanted the advantages of a sump system without any leak issues (thus, closed pvc tubes instead of an open vessel like another tank or bin).

We also wanted to increase the tank volume of the show tank for more carrying capacity (thus, the big fat tubes in the bottom part, giving me almost thirty more gallons of capacity than the initial 80 gallon volume of the show tank up above).

I wanted filter redundancy and extra filtration capacity so I could stock heavier (thus the two canisters and two sand filters, giving me immense biofiltration and mechanical filtration, too).

But we wanted those filters to be flexible and easy to change out for maintenance without unbalancing the system (thus, each filter pair {canister and sand filter} are run on their own plumbing, with their own cut offs, and T together into the main plumbing down below. Each filter set can be disconnected without interrupting pressure or filtration to the main tank because the other pair will keep running, it's just a matter of shutting off one of those red valves and unplugging the canister. Nice and isolated, and they can be easily moved to another tank if I need to run a QT or breeding tank).

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The closed PVC 'sump' below also builds up biofilm for additional filtration and the water is always moving, but at very slow velocity because of the width of the pipes. I wanted a clean out/drain valve off the very bottom of that system so I could drain it easily into the garden or, as needed, flush the whole system out with water and get any detritus or debris that made it past the filtration system (thus, the bottom plumbing fixture with the round knob for control of flow and attaching a garden hose).

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The final components of the system involved managing the pre-exiting three bulkheads, as this is a pre-owned tank. We solved this by sealing the upper left bulkhead, plumbing the bottom bulkhead with a grate as the outflow from the tank and into the filters, and the upper right bulkhead as the return into the tank (thus, there are only two pipes going to and from the main tank and everything in the filter and sump system T's off the outflow and back into the system together, with individual cut offs before the filters and on each filter pair for maximum flow control. Everything going into the sump has been fully filtered and the speed from the canisters powers the sand filters and the return to the tank, no additional pumps needed).

We had some issues pop up with the canisters being too powerful for the sand filters and slowing down the flow to the sand filters was causing noise and problems with the canister pumps. Hubby solved this by creating a nifty bypass loop whereby I can control the flow to the sand filter with a ball valve and the rest of the water goes straight through to the tank. This means that the whole water volume doesn't pass through the sand filters at a given moment but it prevents sand spewing and cavitation issues inside the canisters, so it was still a superior solution.

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The above is a temporary setup while we finish the last plumbing tests for the bottom sump this week. It shows the bypass loop well though :)

Fish in a barrel from the draining below the bottom bulkhead last night - the biggest guys had to come out because of the low water level:

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Edited by Arctic Mama

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Basically, I laid out my needs to my husband and he engineered me a solution that addressed all those needs (and a bunch of the wants, too). I wouldn't have been able to design this myself because I'm not as good with systems and fluid dynamics as he is, but it's really turned out to be a fantastic build. It also distributes the weight of that very heavy aquarium all along the bottom of the stand, and isn't that white oak beautiful?!

I can't wait for the filters to go underneath and the doors to be put on :)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Oh, wow. Boy is he a handyman. Cute fishies too! It looks awesome. I don't think you'll ever find anybody with a setup anything like this. Truly unique.

Is the calico fish a fantail?! He's pretty!

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Yes, Otto is one of my original fantails, he is almost three years old now :)

It's definitely a unique setup, but I'm hoping some of these ideas can help others. I am lucky that I married a DIY-er who also has civil, structural, and mechanical engineering education, because he can do everything himself and calculate what works and why. We can all use nice tools like autocad to make the design process a bit easier. But solutions like parallel and fully redundant filtration or closed sump systems are ideas almost anyone who wants to design their own system can use to their advantage. We have no flooding risk, even in a power outage. That's big :). My husband even made little 'keeper' strips of black wood screwed to the top of the stand to retain the tank for lateral forces (like earthquakes, so the tank won't slide off as they always do in these big seismic events).

He is doing an amazing job but we wanted to contribute to the communal knowledge of aquaria with his experience and skill, so others can do better in their own tanks. Outside the box solutions are his speciality and I hope others benefit too. I LOVE my system and its been a year in the making. Not because it's so hard to do but because we are stupid-busy :P

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Two steps forward, one step back.

Last night we hooked up the other two filters on the lower PVC loop and tested that system for water tightness, but to get the PVC into the cabinet we had to adjust the clean out assembly and twist it back into place, and that is where it leaked. Not a fast one, but we had to drain it and figure out a way to seal it. Solution one was a crazy expensive adhesive to create a kind of patch around that fitting - not elegant but definitely workable. We put on three layers of that and will water test it again later tonight and see if that did it.

Solution two involves loosening the brass fitting and applying glue to the threads. That cuts down on adjustability of the fitting in the future but should stop any leaks. We will have to cut off the assembly if some component fails down the road, however.

Fingers crossed the patch works - if that is the case the entire system is sealed and in place except for lighting and the front doors, which we can mount as soon as the handles arrive.

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Patch failed, it wasn't dry enough. Solution two commenced.

Don't try this at home.

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Patch failed, it wasn't dry enough. Solution two commenced.

Don't try this at home.

image.jpeg

Looks good upside down.  :teehee

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Patch failed, it wasn't dry enough. Solution two commenced.

Don't try this at home.

image.jpeg

Looks good upside down.  :teehee

I always wanted a gravity defying tank like that ^.~

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My albums must be doing something weird - these shots are all right side up for me???

I need to do a final walk through, probably with a video camera. The hood is going to remain unfinished for the time being but the tank and stand are done, filters are underneath and working properly, spray bar in, etc. It looks great and has been working beautifully :)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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yup upside down. I was going to ask you how you kept the fish and water in.. :teehee

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