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Re: seting up 125 gallon tank

CESSNABUM1 at aol_com wrote:

> 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 

Let me detail the steps I took on that route, maybe they could help
other people as well. 

When designing my 120 gal. planted tank, I begun by exploring the merits/
drawbacks of a sump system. 

First thing I would do would be to get rid of the "dry" part of the wet 
dry. I think it competes with the plants for N, and it either removes 
too much amonia that would be better left for the plants, or doesn't get 
fully populated by bacteria if the plants are able to outcompete them for 
the  amonia. So it may end up being either harmful (if too efficient) or
underutilized. In planted tanks, plants *are* the filter, aren't they ?

Second benefit would be surface skimming. But IME owerflow boxes are 
definitely overkill if we want then to just skim the protein surface
film. Your choice of the dual, big overflows (it's a All-Glass tank,
right ?) seems particularly bad to me because of the huge waterfalls 
that form inside them. Great for marine systems, but you would end up 
cursing your choice IMO. And the surface film should go away in a properly 
balanced tank IME. And I figured out how to build a *very* simple 
surface skimmer out of a piece of clear plastic pipe sold at Home Depot 
by $2.49. This is *not* the complicated device I describe at 
http://www.thekrib.com/Filters/Busko/,  but something that took me 10 min. 
to put together. Hopefully I'll get some pictures of it in the near future.

Third, a sump would be a good place to put equipment such as CO2 reactors,
heaters, etc. One of my design goals was to remove the most equipment
I could from inside the tank, and to be able to perform most maintenance
chores with minimum disturbance to the tank. OTHO, I decided at the outset 
that the tank should be primarily heated by a substrate cable heater. I also
figured that a powerhead for circulation and/or airstone for nightly use
would be eventually necessary, and these *must* be inside the tank no
matter what. I also figured that a sump holding mostly mechanical filter 
media would require constant cleaning, which in turn requires reaching
under the stand. To bad for my back :-(

Then, if I could use a good canister filter insetad of a sump system, I 
could double the canister as CO2 reactor too. A properly sized canister 
filter requires much less frequent maintenance too. Hmmm... An approximate
budget for the sump system ended up costing a little less than a Eheim Pro II
*with* media sold by Petwarehouse at their web site. 

Finally, as you may guess, commercial sump systems were out of the question,
basically because of the cost issue, but also because I could find no system
that could meet my needs. A DIY sump would be a kind of shot in the dark, 
requiring a lot of calculations / tests / guesswork to properly figure out 
the correct flow rates, pipe diameters, sizes, safety features, etc. And 
the ultimate filtration efficiency would be unknown until the system is 
finally put together. It was too risky an undertaking. 

So I ended up with the canister system. Btw, the Pro II is a *wonderful*
system. I particularly like the self priming feature and the quick

The main modification I did with the basic canister piping system was that 
the filter intake is not submerged in the aquarium itself, but in a small 
overflow box that hangs at the back of the tank. This box is fed from the 
main aquarium by two syphon pipes, one of these is equiped with the surface 
skimmer, the other draws water from the tank bottom. CO2 is bubbled directly
in the filter intake, no bubble counter is required. The box also holds a 
set of sponge media for prefiltering the water, so I can space the canister 
maintenance farther apart. The box is also used as a feed point for the DIY 
auto water changer. It's also a good place to add powdered fertlilizer, to 
take water samples, to add eventual short-term use filter media such as 
phosphate removers, as a feed point for an eventual dosing pump, etc. So 
in the end it provides most of the benefits of a sump, without the cost 
and the difficult access. I built the box using a squarish, deep Rubbermaid 
kitchen container (about $3.50) and some aluminun stock from Home Depot 
(about $3) to make a frame to hold the box. It's been working flawlessly 
for the past two months.

Hope this helps in your decision, and good luck with the new tank !

- Ivo Busko
  Baltimore, MD

  "Buy a fish, Save a tree !"
  Project Piaba: http://www.angelfire.com/pq/piaba/