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[APD] The Stooges Work Tank Update


I have been doing a lot of Archive searching since last posting in early January about Rift Lake Algae and the 75 gallon tank I am setting up at work. I have decided to use plants in the African Cichlid tank rather than exclusively algae. I will try from among Anubias, Bolbitus, Java Fern, Vallisneria, Crypt. affinis, C. aponogetifolia, and any others I learn of.

I am in the process of building a HOB trickle filter using a modification of Tom Barr's PVC pipe plan. This filter will be attached to the wall rather than the back of the tank. Should I then call it a HOW filter? :) It will be a PVC box 48"Lx8"Wx14"H containing seven 4" PVC pipes filled with lava rock and growing Spathophyllum and Anthirium. I will be pumping sump water to these pipes and letting it drain back to the sump. The PVC box is for secondary containment should anything go wrong with the primary drain. Each pipe has a perforated screen at the bottom to contain the lava rock. The pipes slip into Toilet Flanges glued to the bottom of the PVC box to allow easy removal. There is a 3/4" pipe threaded hole under each flange to drain the water back to the sump. I have a 1" overflow in the bottom of the PVC box. Water is supplied via 3/4" pipe from the sump. The pipe has barbed tube fittings screwed into tee's so that 1/4" ID PVC tubing can supply each 4" pipe. I will use a cheap pinch clamp as a valve to control the flow to each pipe.

I have a free hand sketch so far which I am using as I build this filter. All parts are cut but nothing is glued yet. I plan to set up my drawing board to draw the plans neater and to scale. I plan to scan it at work so that I can post it for anyone to see. I guess I will need to set up a home page for myself on my AOL account to do this. I haven't looked into that yet.

Tom suggested that I could use a RFUG in this tank. I checked the Archives on this one as well. My design will be as follows: Cover bottom of tank with Polypropylene padding for protection from all of the rocks in the tank. I cut out a 1/8" PVC sheet to cover the padding. I will glue manifolds to the underside of this sheet. To give extra support to the sheet, I will glue small lengths of PVC pipe the same length as the manifolds are high to the underside of the sheet. PVC tubing from the manifolds will distribute the water under the sheet. The feed to this RFUG will come down next to the overflow at the back corner of the tank. The PVC sheet has many many 1/8" diameter holes drilled into it to allow the water to escape up from the bottom. I sifted the African Cichlid gravel I bought to get small pieces which I glued to the PVC sheet to camouflage it should it get exposed by digging fish. I used a quart of Medium body PVC cement on the 47"x17" sheet. I first cleaned the sheet with primer and then I sprinkled the gravel into the cement and let it dry. I had to touch up some spots where the gravel didn't stick. Do this in an area with plenty of ventilation if you try it. A quart of cement is a lot. Again, a drawing is in the works.

The sump is a 20 gallon long tank. I am building this filter as well. It will be simply a 4"x9.5" mechanical filtration section followed by a 3.5"x9.5" chemical (activated carbon) section. There are coarse mesh pre-filters in the overflow drain to the sump. I will be putting more 4"PVC pipes in the sump as described above except I will be using PVC couplings cut in half to produce two sockets glued to the bottom plate of my sump filter. The same pump which supplies the HOW filter will supply these sump pipes. A separate pump supplies the RFUG. The heater will be in the sump.

I took an old 4 foot shop light with reflector I found unused and cut it down and pop riveted it to a 20" reflector. I removed all of the old guts of the light and had our electrician rewire it with G23 sockets and magnetic ballasts for four 9 watt 5000K Compact Fluorescent tubes (Phillips PL-S) so that the plants in the sump will grow. I will be adding cut pieces of plastic mirror underneath the tubes to provide a better reflector than the white paint there now.

The ladies in the office are impatient and today taped fish they made and colored to the front glass. They all want to see the tank set up. One of them is saying we should of just stuck with the 10 gallon tank. I told my boss I was doing all of this to minimize the upkeep on the tank when it is in operation. So far he is patiently waiting.

Jerry "Curly" Smith in Bloomingdale, NJ

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