2100L - 2500L Reef tank project

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by FDB, 19 Oct 2009.

  1. FDB

    FDB

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    Hi all.
    To continue from the newbie section.
    I have an area in my house which is actually a kind of section that is supposed to be used for indoor plants.
    I want to convert that into a reef tank area.
    If i cover the surface area of the place, and add a 70cm high tank on it, the volume gets to +-2100L

    This project will obviously happen over a few months as i want to do this correctly, so i have decided to do all the planning and excecution checkpoints on this site with the help of you guys.

    I'm no reef tank guru but am learning fast (i have an experimental small tank already).

    Below is an illustration (top and side) of what i plan to do.
    I'll draw a 3d picture just now and upload it too.

    First up, i need to know how deep the tank must be so i can know what the weight is (at 70cm the weight would be 2.1Tons) and the tank must be built with 13mm glass.
    at 2.1T i need to expant the area i have now with double bricks and place the base of the tank on a thick rubber sheet on bricks and Lintels.

    So this part of the project comes first.. Making sure the tank will stay up there.
    Secondly will be the planning for the area under the tank that will host the goodies (pump, filters, skimmers, etc)

    If you have ANY suggestions, please let me know ok (PRETTY please)?
    [​IMG]
    I'm in Pretoria in Moreletta Park if anyone wants to pop over to have a look at the location and help me brainstorm this.

    Any advice will be appreciated.

    Regards
    Francois
     
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  3. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Hi there.
    I have tried my best to do a 3d drawing in paint brush but hey:
    :)
    Current structure:
    Dark brown is a wall
    Light brown is the floor.
    The rest is pilars and construction where i want to put the tank.
    [​IMG]

    Pic of tank:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Ok, first piece of advice,
    Download Google Sketchup

    Nice piece of drawing software.
     
  5. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    WOW Francois! Firstly, a very WARM WELCOME to MASA! Great to have you on-board!

    Geez - great project to start out with! Just take things slowly, please? This game can be EXTREMELY rewarding if you start out slow, and try and "do things right" the first time around.

    Have you also started to think of the following things?
    - size of your tank's sump
    - size of your skimmer
    - lighting?
    - what water flow you going to go with?
    - etc?

    Please read as much as possible, and ask as many questions as it takes, for you to become the absolute best reefkeeper that you can be!

    Good luck with your journey into the world of marines, mate!
     
  6. Tony

    Tony

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    Like I said in your welcoming thread. Any chance of using natural sunlight?
     
    Last edited: 19 Oct 2009
  7. Andreas

    Andreas

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    Welcome to MASA Francois:)As Jacques said you need to think about this carefully and plan everything before even making a purchase. You have an ideal area in your house that would be suited for a custom tank but please make sure that you would be happy with this design as it would almost be impossible to resell a custom built tank like that afterwards. Have you thought about the sump location or are you going to build one under the main display tank?Good luck with your journey:thumbup:
     
  8. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Hi all thanx for the comments.
    Tony, i can actually very easily install a skylight above the tank. maybe even supliment it with artificial lights and a light switch for cloudy days...
    Please chat to me about that a bit more. Would love to hear why you suggest natural light.

    On the filters, i would have a huge area under the tank for filters and pumps.
    I'm thinking DSB as well as a mud sand bed one running into another. I'm also thinking of having the sand in the tank itself 12cm deep.

    I shall not purchase anything before i have a total plan that you guys seem happy with.

    Jacques:
    "Have you also started to think of the following things?
    - size of your tank's sump - Dunno yet.. I hope you guys can advise me there
    - size of your skimmer - Again. Dunno. I hope you guys can advise me there
    - lighting? - Aparently natural light is a very feasible option for me.. Dunno though. Must still research
    - what water flow you going to go with? - the flowing kind.. he he he. Do you get different kinds? <feeling real dumb on this side now>
    - etc?"

    RiaanP lives a few houses away form me, so i hope to learn a lot there too.
     
  9. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    FDB, the reason for the natural light is that the height of your tank will require MH 400w to reach the bottom and give the requirements for the corals, where as sunlight has all the power to penetrate to the bottom.

    also have you thought about access to the bottom of the tank? very high tank makes it hard to work in
     
  10. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    That bottom wall, unless it is the height of the sump, then at least the long one has to go, or be lowered to the sump height. If the gap between the tank and sump or wall is too low, and your sump area is 1.4 deep, you will bump your head when reaching for stuff and speak some French.
     
  11. clinton stanford

    clinton stanford

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    this sounds awesome....good luck:)
     
  12. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Hi guys.
    Just an update.
    I think i solved the lighting problem with the sunlight suggestions above.
    I will cut a hole the size of the tank in my zink roof above this structure and fit [FONT=&quot]Fiberglass Roof[/FONT] Sheeting there, then i will remove the ceiling and fit fibreglass instead of normal ceiling. This would give me diffused natural sunlight over the whole area of the tank.
    Problem might be heat though, so a chiller might be nessesary during summer?

    I also want to drop the tank from a 90cm high, to a 50/60cm high tank.
    That would take my volume and weight to about 1800L and 1.8Ton.

    The sump would be around 100L and the DSB/Refrigium 250L, both plastic containers from the Atterbury plastic shop. These would be hosted under the tank and i would need to break access into the bottom walls.

    I would obviously need a big skimmer, so I’m still looking at that.

    I'm thinking of going with an external pump just smaller than those used in swimming pools.

    Plumbing should be simple. Overflow running to DSB then Sump, and back to the tank.
    I will add a switch on the pump for water changes (pumping water out of the tank) and can actually mount my RO tanks (For evaporation auto refill) and my top-up (for water changes) in my ceiling as ceiling access is right by this said area. So i can mix salt in a tank quite easily and do some clever plumbing to make water changes easy. Getting water to the RO unit would also be a breeze because the geyser and it's plumbing is not far away either.
    If i really want to, i can actually build flood water into this system. I can pump lets say 200L of water out of the tank and into the roof (on another support wall), once it's full, all 200L is released in a controlled manner into the tank.. But that is a story all on it's own with it's own challenges (overflow would stop working obviously so i would need to make the sump 250 - 300L so it can almost drain itself, and the overflow would need to be quite big.). Dunno about the feasibility of this...

    I would like to have just the overflow and the return pipes in the tank, and the rest in the sump and sump areas. So if i could let the pipes going into, and exiting the tank running through the bottom, it would be great, but would sealing that be possible? (in the long run.) The pressure at the bottom would be big and i cannot afford a weakness in the base of the tank. Or has anyone done this before?

    Over to substrate... Should i use fine sand, or crushed coral? How deep? (I don't think it needs to be more than 3-5cm deep??)

    For water flow, i would prefer strong power heads pushing the water from the one side of that tank (Left to right), and then weaker power heads pumping it backwards (right to left). Maybe the strong power heads pumping for 4 seconds, then they switch off, and the weaker ones pumping back for 8 seconds and so the cycle continues.

    I'm thinking of starting it slow.
    (Well duh) but i mean just simply having live rock, cleaning crew and maybe two clowns in there for quite some time because i know aquascaping would change a lot as i add the corals. once all teh corals are established and I’m happy with scaping, then only start adding fish. This would keep my feeding down and no cause unnecessary stress during scaping and maturing of corals.

    Last point. I want to add "moonlights" to the tank.. mainly for display purposes at night. Any suggestions?

    Any thoughts?

    Cheerz
    Me
     
  13. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Hi ....

    Just a couple of quick comments .......

    i dont believe there will be enough light penetrating through 2 layers of fibreglass.

    i think you need to rethink the actual shape of the tank itself, there is one nasty narrow corner there which will be impossible to clean and will not host any fish or corals.

    i would seriously look at either a cube of say 1.6x1,6m or something with less of an angle in it.

    something you MAY want to consider is the following ..... have a 1.6m cube, then use the fron triangular area as a mangrove filter syatem, PERHAPS even incorporating a rock pool type effect at the base where you could have your DSB, macro algae etc etc .... a marine tank flowing into a mangrove filtration flowing into a rockpool through the filtration and back into the tank ????
     
  14. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Cool ideas!
    The sharp point would be changed to a 15cm flatpoint touching that pillar.

    Remember the fibreglass on the flat roof is almost completely see-through. It's almost like a plastic. The one in the ceiling is just just diffused/matted.

    But i'll test it first.
    :)
     
  15. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Hi guys.
    I need to get some price guestimates on the glass and the steel structure under the tank.
    Who on here build customs tanks and stands?
     
  16. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Idol Marine does that,
    While on that, check out Bob the ReefBuilder thread on his own home tank.
    Basically also an odd shape trianguler setup.
     
  17. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Hi guys.
    Going a bit futher with the investigation of Niel's suggestion....
    How would i make somthing like this work? Can i build a self sustaining Tidal pool type tank thingamabob? DSB as floor area, Plants with proper lights, Hidden pumps IN tank... What do i do with the skimmer? Who's got clever ideas? It would be lit by sunlight. I will adapt/buy my tank inhabitants to/based on the light readings i'm getting...
    I want the effect of something standing out of the tank.. Just as they have here.. Rock? with crabs? Ideas?
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Atilla

    Atilla Sponsor

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    wow!!:thumbup:
     
  19. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Yea i like it too... Getting it to work though is another problem...
    The stupid skimmer is going to give me a tough time..
    If i do this, i have no Sump. Everything must be in the tank... Or i need to make it so i would not need a skimmer... <scratches head>

    Can i use concrete that has been marbalited?
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    Francois,

    Just saw this thread. sounds great. Please come and talk to us at Idol Marine. Both Adriaan and I have big sunlit tanks, and they need some experience to do well. We also enjoy configuring different options such as you are contemplating.

    Look at some of the Idol marine build threads such as Schalks reef or Punks or Hannes to get an idea of our work.

    But come and have a chat with us, it will be good to hear your ideas.:)
     
  21. riyadhessa

    riyadhessa

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    Awesome thread mate...
     
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