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

Re: Doing a big tank

> the tank i am setting up is a 1600 gal plant tank.  it is 24 ft x 3 ft x 3
> 1/2 ft.  i
> will explain what i am thinking of doing, then you can critique and give
> other opinions.

Hope you like doing lots of work. 36-42 inches deep will be oh so fun. I
know your arms are not that long so you had better get real good at using
tongs and not being able to use your hands. I guess you could get a face
mask and a snorkel. This tank will wear you out if you want it to look nice.

> for lighting i am planning on 8 400 watt fixtures with either 5500 K or 6500
> K bulbs in them.  i want to try the electronic ballasts from blueline.
> anyone try these yet?

I would certainly not go the Electronic ballast route. Not good results yet
with these. Maybe later on. Stick with decent Hydroponic like fixtures etc.
400 watt are a great size for your project. I'd also go with the lower color
temp for cost reasons for 8 bulbs. The 6500's tend to be more and the end
result will not really be worth the cost difference. The 400 watt range
would be about right every 3 feet. You may even add more say 10 -12 total.
Since your tank is so long you can have the lights come on from one end to
the other for a neat effect if you stagger the timing. 3200watts? ouch on
the electric bill. 
> for the substrate i am going to use seachem's flourite.  i will probably get
> about 800 lbs and mix in some 2-3 mm gravel.  can you hydro-clean flourite,
> or do you just siphon the top gravel?

Actually going this deep and considering that the gravel will close off pore
space, I'd stick with the straight stuff but a tank this size you have to
consider the cost of it. Perhaps a turface mix with the flourite would be
better than the 2-3mm sand IMO. You want big pore size per grain but in each
grain lots of tiny pore space. Sand has no internal pores. Turface profile
etc is cheap and will match better than the sand with flourite. Turface is
light though. Several public aquariums tried the profile and found it to
shift greatly due to it being so light in weight. They used flourite as well
and will in the future stick with the flourite only. But a mix might be a
solution for you. Perhaps the flourite will hold the profile better and keep
it in place. C. Nash at TN aquarium and Mark at MBA both use it and are
quite happy with as I of course am. Nippon, a large fish store in SF uses
all flourite in their 12 planted tanks as well. Albany aquarium and many
other plant friendly places including Steinhart Aquarium in SF also use
flourite. Big tanks are not cheap. It's worth the extra money in the long
run IMO. 

For washing both, buy a screen and place the gravel in a trash can full off
water etc and dunk. They will require some time to clean but about 3 washes
in a bucket is a good rule but when talking about 800lbs...a wire screen and
a hose wash is the best method. You'll want to go about 6-8 inch depth back
or deep parts and about 2-3 in the front or shallow parts. Some folks just
do it flat.

> i am going to use a pinpoint pH controller with co2.  do i just let the co2
> go into the intake of the main pump to grind it up?

Don't do this especially on such a big tank. One end of your tank will have
a pH set for 6.8 and the other side unless really well mixed and a very good
reactor will have a pH of 7.2 perhaps. You have larger water masses here not
small ones. The larger the mass the less flux and longer lag times. Use a
monitor like a pinpoint etc. Test at different locations in the tank and
sump etc. See where the CO2 is getting to and not getting to.
This is very important for a large tank. A good flow in the distribution is
important as well regarding this. If your ph probe acts up for any
reason/falls out etc you will have an issue on your hands. You can set a
flow rate that will be as solid if not more so than with a controller. Sink
the extra 100$ or so you'll save into more flourite etc. Don't need it and
it won't help. If you do decide on it make sure the probe is very secure.
Don't get any water on your soilinoid etc.

> i plan on having two overflows in the tank (one on each end).  they will
> probably be 3 inch overflows.  these will flow to a 75 gal sump.  the sump
> will probably just house a clepco 2000-3000 watt heater.  there will be a
> 3/4 hp pump that will pump it back to the display.  i might put in a side
> stream with a lifeguard mechanical filter (3 pack).  sound ok?

A sand filter that is easy to back wash might be better. Micron filters are
fine and all though but more maintenance. A simple flow through box with
filter floss will be fine and can be set up for very easy maintenance. Floss
is very cheap and can be had at fabric stores for 1-2$ per yard.
A simple rack above the inflow to the sumps can placed and made out of
eggcrate material and the floss can be placed in there. A large bag style
filter could also be used. Or you could drill holes in a good sized trash
can and line with floss in a similar fashion and set into the sump. Again a
large savings and easy to add and easy to deal with  and very cost/use
effective. Ugly but out of the way.
> the water will flow into the tank at various spots throughout the tank.  the
> returns will be postitioned so they dont cause too much surface agitation.

A spray bar all along the back bottom edge is a good method of distribution.
A wet/dry would help also. Again some agitation is fine, just not lots.
You'll need some holes near the surface for a back siphon break anyway.
If you use a back bottom spray bar pointed outwards to the front of the tank
this will give the rich CO2 filtered water even flow from the bottom of the
plants up through all the plants. This is the most effective method of
adding CO2 or/and O2 filtered rich waters back into your tank. It also gives
a nice gentle current spread evenly over the entire tank. The plants will
hide the bar along the back bottom also. The spray bar can be scuffed up and
tied with Java moss etc to make it look more natural. the new water slowly
ascends up through the plants to the surface were it's sucked over the over
flow for another cycle.

> water changes will be once a week, 1/4-1/2 of the tank using tap water that
> has been conditioned for chlorine and chloramines.

Sounds good if you can stand that much water volume to change.
> sound ok?  any advice on doing something different, or anything i forgot?

Test your nutrient well and get good test kits for that part.
Plant choices will be another huge issue. Well unless you love pruning in
36-42inches of water:) I'd pick plants like Crypt balansae etc that grow
slow and and don't take too much short term care etc. Rocks and wood with
plants attached etc. Tie stuff near the surface that might need maintenance.
This way the pruning is easy to get at.
I'd consider getting a large amount of KNO3, K2SO4, KH2PO4 and TMG etc.

When you plant it add lots of plants and more plants and then some more. Add
lots of algae eaters etc. It might cost a fair amount on this alone.
But..........think of cleaning out a huge tank full of algae and a pissed
off client or a big heachache. Not worth it. Test kits, lots of plants from
the start, algae eaters after a couple of days. Check out SFBAAPS Mark
Flaulkner's 500 gallon tank and his article on it. Check out the articles on
plant levels and dosing by Steve Dixon and myself. That might help some
also. If you can get the CO2 concept down well your a long way to getting
there. That's the biggest issue at the start.

Your not a maintenance reef guy doing a big planted tank are you - ?
Tom Barr