"Temporary Insanity", 60 gallon build

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
Hello folks,

Welcome to the most recent installment of "How long after setting up the tank will it be before Phil has to move again?". After 5 months without a tank I finally broke down and put one together. Rather than work on a couple different builds for testing and experimentation at the same time, I decided to really focus on one system and go all out. I got really lucky and found all sorts of awesome hardware in storage when we moved and cherry picked the prime bits for use in this tank.

Overall design philosophy: Over engineer, over engineer, over engineer, and cut no corners. Since the stand is open, all of the hardware and plumbing had to be both effective and visually pleasing. This meant sourcing manufactured items where needed rather than DIY. Also, everything had to be modular for easy maintenance, modification, and moving. This meant using lots of couplings and true union valves. If I've learned anything over the years when it comes to plumbing sumps/wet-drys it's that one can NEVER have too many unions. They make maintenance and removing hardware for pictures MUCH easier.

Before I get started, I want to give a big shout out to the folks at CPR Aquatic; especially their sales guy Russ. He was very patient with all my questions, communicated regularly, and accommodated my OCD requests for sump customization. This was my first time not making my own wet-dry/sump filter since I started high tech tanks back in 2001 and I wanted to make sure everything was just right. I'm very, very pleased with the result.

Specs:
*Stand- 1.5" steel frame with removable light hanging bracket.
*Tank- 60 gallon (48 x 24 x 13) effective volume
*Filter- CPR CR900 wet-dry with additional reservoir
*Overflow- CPR CS102
*Return pump- unknown brand, 3200 liters/hr (approx. 800 gph)
*Filtration media- 8.5 lbs Xport-NO3 (approx. 4000 gallons filtration capacity) with Poret foam for mechanical filtration
*Chemical filtration- Brightwell Aquatics OrganitR DOC adsorption resin in a CPR Mini Tumbler reactor with Fine Media Kit.
*Lighting- Aquatic Life 6x T5HO
*CO2- Mag Drive 2 running a mazzei injector into a 3-stage Cerges reactor

Ok, I think that's enough talking, on with the pics!

"A Room With A View, or Plumbing Porn"
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Preparing to seal the wood, or The Most Expensive Magnets Ever. Yeah, I used the motors for two VorTech MP40s. Paint was two coats of standard Killz.
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Boards laid and sump in place. The lefthand half of the reservoir is going to be a dedicated plant growing and shrimp keeping area so I wanted it in front for easy viewing. Plus, the side-by-side arrangement opens up a lot of usable space so it's a win-win.
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Pump plumbing, expanded view
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Mazzei adaptors. I went with mazzei style venturis for two reasons; 1) I had them already and 2) the flow through the tank is a lot lower than what the overflow is rated for. Russ told me that an Aqualifter would work, but it would wear out faster. Rather than have to worry about the priming pump dying at an inconvenient time, and save a little money on electricity, I figured it would be better to plumb a venturi right into the return line. Now I've got a self-priming system that injects a little air into the tank every now and then to boot. Even better, I can use the Aqualifter as a dosing pump now. :)
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All put together and testing the lights. Sadly, I underestimated how high the bracket would need to be to accommodate the hanging kits for my light and it ended up being too close to the tank. A simple modification fixed that!
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Soaking the wood while all of the plumbing joints cure. I found a couple pinhole leaks in the sump bulkheads (that's what I get for trusting rubber gaskets) that needed to be siliconed.
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It's alive!!!
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Detail shots coming in the next post.
 

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
LET THERE BE FILTRATION!!! The dual downdraft sump cover arrived today so I'll be using that soon and finishing up the plumbing as designed. I was surprised to observe that there's been no issue having the full siphon line draining into the filter chamber and the open line draining into the reservoir. This has interesting implications for when the filter chamber is sealed. If it will work with only the single input once the whole thing's taped up then there will be no need to have the open line acting as a chimney that vents all the gas in the filter chamber. I'll be trying that soon.
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CO2 reactor; 3/4" line
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Mini Tumbler with OrganitR. The picture was taken after letting it run over the first night after adding the wood. Look at all the tannins it removed!
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Tumbler working like a champ. The valve on the powerhead allows for tweaking the flow. It's churning everything in a nice gentle roil for excellent contact time and circulation. Very impressed! That's the CO2 return line next to the reactor.
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Anti-siphon hole; one of the most important details to remember!
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I think this is an excellent use of the bag I got at the AGA convention, do you agree?
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Big rocks
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Large to medium rocks
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Pebbles for epiphytes and putting moss in small places
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Potential wood arrangement. The main light died so I'm using the 24 inch fixtures until the replacement parts arrive.
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Thanks for watching!
 

kirk

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Joined
24 Dec 2012
Messages
1,659
Location
tewkesbury
Phil, some great plumbing/ fitration there, have just enjoyed going through it all. I'll be keeping an eye out for scape.

You painting/descising the white inlet?
 

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
Thank you Kirk. It's going to be a few months before the aquascaping happens, but it's something I look forward to as well. :) Once I've decided if I want to keep the outlet as is or if I want to bring it up closer to the surface I'll probably end up painting it. I don't want to have to mess with paint creating issues with the PVC cement if I end up changing my mind. Then again, I've got the parts, so I might just make a shorter one and paint them both. :)
 

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
Thank you ADA and EnderUK,

I've got some plants and new hardware here and will get updated pics tonight. Once the mould/fungus on the wood is gone I'll get pics with moss on it.
 

Tim Harrison

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5 Nov 2011
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UK
That's some seerious plumbing...I hope this tank reaches maturity before you have to move again;)
 

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
Here you go Ed,

What she looked like before tear down. My company moved to a different state last year so I had to tear all the tanks down when it was time for me to go to the new facility. :( The Aquaman Cave is no more.

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Here's the 60 around the same time.

IMG_0909.jpg
 

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
Someone on another forum was asking for detail photos of auto-prime venturi I hooked up for the overflow. I figured if one person is asking other people are wondering too so here they are.

Rigid airline U tube
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Airline running to the adaptor
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Adaptor for the surgical tubing going to the venturi
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The venturi itself
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Lots of Poret foam sheets to play with, wheeeeee!
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The 2" thick foam is just slightly too thick for the drip plate chamber. It's pressing directly against the bulkhead, so I've got some 1" thick stuff coming that should work a lot better and not get clogged right away once the tank's actually planted and has fish. The dark blue sheet is used as a final filter for the pumps and to separate the shrimp/plant nursery from the pump area.
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The tank so far. There's a big wad of moss hiding behind the wood on the left side.
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Anubias 'Petite' "garden" waiting for final hardscape arrangement before placement.
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Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
Thanks Ed. That was all emergent growth. I wish I'd had the ability to flood it and run it properly for a couple months before having to tear it down. I guess I could have, but it wouldn't have had a filter. :(

I'm glad to be back and be wet again too!
 

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
(Un)fortunately no petroleum deposits were found near my house so I couldn't get special interest funding for the project. HAHAHA

Thanks Jim, I'll take that as a compliment. :)

I intentionally went a bit overboard with the hardware for a few reasons:
1- I love sumps/wet-dry filters, have been using them for years, and I got a good deal on this one so I could afford to go a bit bigger.
2- Life support best practices have changed a lot since I set up my last tank for aquascaping (vs. for testing/experimentation) and I wanted to include as many of those as I could.
3- I've seen too many insane reef builds online for my own good.
4- I had a lot of the non-filter parts already so why not?
5- The stand can accommodate a 120 gallon tank so I designed the life support system to be able to handle something that big if the time ever comes.
6- I'm in the camp who believes dissolved organics are a significant contributor to algae issues and decided to fill the filter full of a medium that encourages bacterial growth with the expectation that it will increase DOC/DOM processing. We'll see how it works.
7- I could do it, so why not? Designing life support systems is half the fun (to me)!

Cheers,
Phil
 

luckyjim

Member
Joined
26 Jan 2015
Messages
156
Good call mate, looks the business to me. But then my understanding of engineering ends at pushing a plug into a socket! :nailbiting:
 

Phil Edwards

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2013
Messages
201
5.8.15 Update-

Got some plants in there. Some friends sent me a batch of Crypts to start growing and I had to float some extras for a little while. I was seriously tempted to plant them in the tank, but successfully resisted and went with the original plan of putting them outside. Disaster averted! hahah

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What it looks like now. Added a load of Bolbitis, a giant Anubias minima (hahah, what a misnomer!), some random stems that came with various packages from other hobbyists, 10 more pots of moss from the dealer, and the Bucephalandra I got at the AGA convention.

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I'm currently running approx. 60ppm NO3 and 7ppm PO4 with no signs of algae over the first week, only some fungus on the wood as it cures. Let's see what happens over the next one.

Not so great picture of the filter. Added the double input drip plate, switched out to 1-inch thick 30 pores per inch foam in the plate housing and put the 2-inch thick 30 pore per inch foam underneath it. Even with approx 500 gph going through it, the filter's nearly silent and there's almost no agitation. Goal achieved!

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The 1-inch foam for those who are curious.
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Let there be Cryptocoryne and Laegenandra!
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Thanks for watching.
 
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