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[APD] RE: Larry, Curly and Moe

> Greetings
> 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
> exclusively algae. I will try from among Anubias, Bolbitus, Java Fern, 
> Vallisneria, Crypt. affinis, C. aponogetifolia, and any others I learn of.

You will have a tough time finding the Crypts, email me off list though, I
can help you out.

> I am in the process of building a HOB trickle filter using a modification
> 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? :)

Sounds good. Hydroponics store's sell those cocoa pebbles clay
balls*(imagine Moe getting duped by Curly, then after a couple of slaps,
Curly eats it and likes it) or you can use small 1/2" -3/8" lava, or you
can also use Profile aquatic plant gravel/Turface etc which would likely be
even better.

 It will be 
> a PVC box 48"Lx8"Wx14"H containing seven 4" PVC pipes filled with lava

See profile/Turface alternative

> and growing Spathophyllum and Anthirium.

Sounds good, most tropical foliage will do pretty good

 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. 

Good idea and will make the final product look nicer.

> pipe has a perforated screen at the bottom to contain the lava rock.

Try using those knock out test caps instead andf drill a few holes in the
bottom or better yet, drill the holes about 3-4inches up so if the filter
stops running, the tubes will never run dry and damage the plant roots. 

> pipes slip into Toilet Flanges glued to the bottom of the PVC box to
> easy removal. There is a 3/4" pipe threaded hole under each flange to
> 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
> 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
> pipe.

Yes, this makes for a good design.

> 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
> page for myself on my AOL account to do this. I haven't looked into that 
> yet.

There are yahoo pics picture trail.com etc to post stuff or you do the web

> Tom suggested that I could use a RFUG in this tank. I checked the
> on this one as well. My design will be as follows: Cover bottom of tank
> 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
> underside of this sheet. 

Like the 1/2" cpvc or PVC tubing I suggested in past post? Then add the
gravel coated 1/8 plate over this with holes?
The point of the manifold/giant spray bar is that the roots will not block
anything, they grow around and make it all the way to the very bottom of
the tank. 
I'd tried a number of designs before settling on that one including a
plastic plate similar to what you describe.

To give extra support to the sheet, I will glue 
> small lengths of PVC pipe the same length as the manifolds are high to
> underside of the sheet. PVC tubing from the manifolds will distribute the 
> water under the sheet. 

Okay, well, you may as well just use the grid method I suggested in the
past, easy, simple and less hassle, it'll do the same thing.

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"
> I first cleaned the sheet with primer and then I sprinkled the gravel
> 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.

You can do this to the pvc /CPVC pipe also ansd it'd be easier take up less
space inside the tank, allow more depth/root growth.

> 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. 

I do not think the carbon will be of any use to you. Add another plant
rather than adding carbon, plant export is better than carbon usage and

There are coarse mesh 
> pre-filters in the overflow drain to the sump. 

You might consider bag filters for the first mechanical stage of the sump
after the prefiltering.
These work pretty good.

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
> pipes. A separate pump supplies the RFUG. The heater will be in the sump.

Sounds good.
One small, but important piece of advice.

Like the return line, add a small 1/16-1/8" hole about 1/2" down from the
water surface for both the RFUG return and the regular return lines,
backflow will get you and it helps prevent gas lock in the RFUG which can
reduce flow greatly.

> 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
> 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)
> 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
> white paint there now.

Oh you can grow alot of plants in there!!!!!
I used a 15w and did great on a 125 gal with 4 plant tubes(3"dia x 18"L)

> 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
> in operation. So far he is patiently waiting.

Got to keep them all happy:)

I'd like to help with the design some, I think you can do well with a great
many rocks in this tank and the plants, Vals, C. aponogetiifolia etc can be
planted in PVC bins inside the tank in the back and they will look nice.
Anubias can be wedged into the rocks and follow the natural path, java fern
as well.

You might consider Excel for the tank.  
A large school of Tropheus mioorii sure would look nice in there and some
Synodontis multi's or petricola's.

One of the nicest tanks I've seen was an Anubias tank with these fish and
rocks built up beautifully(light brown color, nice and rounded) 

Tom Barr

> Jerry "Curly" Smith in Bloomingdale, NJ

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