[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re:SW to FW conversion

>> 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.

I'd keep the pump and use a spray bar to evenly distribute the flow along
the bottom back edge(unless your viewing from both sides).
Sell the other stuff on ebay/auctions/ads etc.
You can add a ball valve to the output and adjust the flow as needed(a good
idea to add one anyway)

>> 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?

Certainly. I would.

Or should I just take these out and put stand
>> pipes in their place for overflows?

Naw, keep the overflow boxes in.

>> 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?

The bulbs are most likely URI brand if VHO, check to see if you can find any
110watt markings on the bulbs or references on the ballast etc.
Unless it comes with good reflectors, these might not be quite enough for a
planted tank since it's having to push through that much water(28x28 area
thickness) and your at about 2 watt/gallon.
Ask the guy if the bulbs are indeed VHO and ask where he got his bulbs from

>> 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?

A larger sump will not dry out from tank evaporation and be able to handle
larger fills when the pump stops and the siphon breaks.
Mainly the wet/dry area, keeping the other equipment out of the way and any
other toys you might to add.
The 40 Breeder should be enough.

You might want to consider the long term upkeep and cost of this tank. It's
a great deal initially........but 880watts of light, 100+ watts of pump,
fish and fert cost, etc can get expensive. Bulb replacements alone, 200$ MO.

 And how
>> many gallons of bio balls do I need to properly filter a tank of this
>> size?

15-20 gallons should do it.
>> 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)?

Heat the place, not the tank. Might be cheaper.

>> 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?

Sure just clean things out good and get all the salt off.

  Am I wanting to sell something (the chiller, protein skimmer and
>> Iwaki pump) that I should hang onto?

Unless your going into SW.

>> 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?

3 - 5 would be fine.

 Will restricting the flow hurt this pump?  Or
>> should I just go with a smaller pump?

No it shouldn't. These are good pumps.
>> My goal is to have the plants and discus compliment each other, but to
>> have as many adult discus in the tank as possible

Please don't say that. Your better off having a nice "community" rather than
"as many as will fit". Strike a balance, don't force a system to the break
point. Big tank with lots of expensive fish = a big problem if something
goes wrong.
I would not add more than 30 fish.

 (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.

MH's if you plan to be working on this tank would be 5 x 250 watts @ 6500K
would be nice but you should be able to work with what you have.
If you decide to go with PC's, 9 x 96 watts would work well. I added 8 on a
36inch x 96 inch x 30 inch 360 gallon tank and it was impressively lit!!
The problem w hoods is access. you need to get at least 24inches down into
this tank to plant and prune. 36inches sucks unless you're a center for a
pro Basketball team.

>> Use a large wet/dry for filtration.

Good idea there.

>> Use flourite the bottom few inches and then cover it with either sand or
>> 2-3mm gravel for the substrate

If you have the $, add 100%. Folks don't regret it.

>> Use substrate heating cables in the Flourite and Ebo Jaeger heaters in
>> the sump to keep the temp at 82 F.

Good target temp. I'd save your money on the cables though. I'll argue till
I'm blue they are not worth the cost. I had them, I built a number, used a
number on customer's tanks. I'll never use them even if I had Bill Gate's

>> 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.

What's the tap's KH and GH(either ppm or German degree units from a test
A nice KH for plants and Discus is 3 to 5KH and a similar GH.
82F-84F is a nice range for temp. The lights will heat up the tank somewhat
during the day.

>> 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?

Well, it will involve lots of work to set up, and maintain. It will cost you
as much if not more to than the cost of the "deal" just for parts/supplies.
Then there's the fish, the pruning, feeding etc.

I'd plan on weekly water changes, a few trash cans for RO water if Breeding
is what your trying to do. Draining it out while filling it removes all the
plant nutrients also so unless you plan on adding those as you remove them,
I'd pass on this idea. Something's bound to go wrong on an already complex
large monster. Try for simple and useful.
40% weekly water changes, add nutrients back for plants, feed fish 2x a day,
keep CO2 up 20-30ppm, plant heavy from the start, add herbivores(better them
removing algae than you) also heavy from the start.

Please consider the work you are going to get involved in if you decide to
do this.

I'll gladly help you along on this tank if you do decide to grow the fish
and plants together.
Tom Barr

>> Thanks for any info,
>> Lance Krueger