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Re: seting up 125 gallon tank

>I'm thinking about getting the reef ready style that has the overflow boxes 
>in each corner, and drilled with bulkhead fittings, because I would like to 
>use a wet/dry filter. I'm interested in the eheim model 2229. Do I even >need 
>the overflow boxes with this filter? Is this a good choice of filter? Can 

Eheim's canisters are a long-time favorite with planted tank keepers. You
don't necassarily need an *overflow* for this filter (it comes with siphon
tubes and such), but it can be used with one if you ensure the intake is
*always* in water. You don't want the canister to ever run dry.

>someone explain the theory behind overflow boxes, sumps etc. or can send me 

The basic idea behind the use of a sump is that it gives you an
out-of-sight (or out-of-tank for me, I only care what's *in* the tank :-)
place to put goodies like CO2 reactors, heaters, dosers, etc. It also has
the nice advantage of allowing you to do water changes without ever putting
siphons and the like in the main tank (provided the sump is big enough).
You can do all kinds of water maintenance without disturbing the
inhabitants of your tank, and evaporation losses will all show up in the
sump rather than the show tank. You need a sump if you want to use a wet
dry, but I'm not aware of any other tank accessories that require the use
of one.

The overflow box is a special intake siphon that is designed in such a way
as to not break in the event the flow stops. I wrote a lenghty treatise on
overflows a while back on the list and linked to a picture of one on the
Krib that I think is good for illustrative purposes.

>Another question is cable heaters. Is it worth the money? what is a good 
>brand to get and from where.

I think they are useful and so do some other well-respected planted tank
keepers (most notably George Booth). I don't think the commercial units are
worth the money, but then again I am a big-time DIY'er and I have a lot of
access to wire and wire related products through my industry connections.

There have been some positive comments about the cable that Pets Warehouse
carries, and the Dupla low-volt system is a bit of a long-time staple.
Personally I would investigate a DIY system using a light-gauge
teflon-insulated wire for the cable and a power supply built around a
surplus transformer. I can provide sources for all of these partes if
you're interested, email me off-list for info.

>I'm probably going to use cf lighting from ahsupply. 
>any suggestion on what to do with this setup is greatly appreciated

Well, pick a combination of bulbs that will evenly light your tank. If you
are going to try an open-top setup you owe it to yourself to look into
metal halide lighting (MH) even if you decide you'd rather stick with PCF.
I'm a big fan of MH lighting so I had to mention that :-) MH is cheap DIY

I am guessing you are planning on building your own hood. I recommend
carefully planning the hood design to allow for easy access to the tank. On
my 125 setup I have a track system design that will allow me to slide three
MH fixtures around so that I can move them completely (4 feet or so) to the
side and out of the way. I also would mount the ballasts seperate from the
hood to keep them away from splashes and to limit the heat generated in the
hood. There are lots of sources for inexpensive aluminum enclosures that
are perfect for ballasts. If you get good components from some of the
electronics supply places mentioned on the list you can do a very nice job
on the electrical side of things.

BTW, if you do go the sump route, try putting your heaters in there too.
Sure, it's an extra point of failure (dead circulation pump = no heat in
tank), but it gets the heaters out of the tank and out of view.


Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator