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Saltwater to Freshwater Conversion

---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Lance Krueger <lkphoto at hiline_net>
> To: Aquatice Plants Digest <Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com>
> Subject: Saltwater to Freshwater Conversion
>     This is my first post, though I've enjoyed all the info over the
> past year.  I don't want to get into something that won't work from the
> start, if I'd just asked some advice first.  Especially on a scale such
> as this.
>     There's a guy down the street from me that has a 400 gallon tank
> (120"x28"x28" internal dimensions, w/ 5/8" glass) that he used to have
> set up as a saltwater reef tank using the Berlin method of filtration
> (i.e. use of live rock as the bio filter, with a huge protein skimmer
> and a sump to just hold water).  In addition to the tank, hood and
> stand, this setup includes a 40 Breeder Oceanic sump, huge (5' tall)
> "Biozone" Protein Skimmer, Aquanetics AFC-4 chiller, Iwaki MD-70 RLT
> pump, and eight 4' VHO (I think, but I'm not sure how to tell) tubes
> with 4 "D-Light" electronic ballasts.
>     I was thinking about buying this behemouth from this guy and turning
> it into a planted discus show tank down the road, though it was never
> intended for such a purpose.  He said he would let it go for $1,800,
> since he is totally getting out of fish.  I thought I could sell the
> chiller (which I could possibly sell for half of it's brand-new price of
> $1,000 on the net), the protein skimmer, and possibly the Iwaki Pump
> (1500 gph @ 4', since I don't think I need something this big for a
> discus tank, while buying something smaller), to pay for part of the
> expense of this thing.
>     My questions are:
> 1). Can I use this tank with the built-in internal overflow boxes
> mounted inside this "reef-ready" tank to run to the sump, which I'll
> convert to a wet/dry?  Or should I just take these out and put stand
> pipes in their place for overflows?
> 2).  I know little about lights.  I assume these are VHO lights, since
> the eight T-12 sized tubes have screw-on end caps, and are hooked up to
> four electronic ballasts below in the stand.  How can I tell what I've
> got here for lighting? The four electronic ballasts have the name
> "D-Light" with a bunch of electrical data on them, but I couldn't read
> any more coherant info, at least for me.  I assume that since this guy
> ran this as a successful reef tank, it should be more than enough for a
> planted discus tank, but how do I tell how much light is here, if I have
> too much or too little, and what kind it is?
> 3).  Should I use a bigger tank (like a spare 55-gallon I've got) for
> the wet/dry, or can I hook it and the 40 Breeder up in line to make an
> even bigger sump/wet-dry?  Is there some sort of formula that gives me
> an idea of what percentage of sump I need to gallons of tank?  And how
> many gallons of bio balls do I need to properly filter a tank of this
> size?
> 4).  To heat this thing, I plan to use Ebo Jaeger heaters in the sump
> (about 2,000 watts worth), or are there better heating options (like an
> inline "fireplug" heater)?
> 5).  Is it okay to go from saltwater to a freshwater planted discus
> tank, and would the equipment above work okay for what I'm wanting to
> do?  Am I wanting to sell something (the chiller, protein skimmer and
> Iwaki pump) that I should hang onto?
> 6).  Should I just use the Iwaki pump that is here and restrict the
> flow?  How many times per hour should I turn the water over for a
> planted discus tank?  Will restricting the flow hurt this pump?  Or
> should I just go with a smaller pump?
> My goal is to have the plants and discus compliment each other, but to
> have as many adult discus in the tank as possible (without having so
> many that it causes problems), with the plants accentuating the discus.
> I plan to do the following with this tank regarding equipment (aka Dupla
> setup, ala George Booth):
> Use a CO2 pressurized system (like the Gromberg system)
> Use the existing VHO lighting, or get CF's or MH's if they would be
> better.
> Use a large wet/dry for filtration.
> Use flourite the bottom few inches and then cover it with either sand or
> 2-3mm gravel for the substrate
> Use substrate heating cables in the Flourite and Ebo Jaeger heaters in
> the sump to keep the temp at 82 F.
> Use a drip system with a mix of RO and tap (since my tap is about 1,000
> microsiemens or 500 ppm TDS) to lower the Conductivity to about half (or
> more?) of what it is now for a 10%-25% daily water change.
> Any thoughts or warnings about this idea?  Things I should do
> differently?  Or should I just forget about this whole setup since it
> would be a disaster from the start?
> Thanks for any info,
> Lance Krueger