Anton's 4000L reef plans

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Hi all,
I am happy to join this site!!

I am planning on building a 4000l marine aquarium in our new house near Mosselbay and am still in the design phase (and a 1' st timer) so everybody on the forum should know what it feels like starting off.

I have been doing some recearch (6-12mths on and off) and got most of the little knowledge I have,from Robbert M.Fenners book "The Consientious Marine Aquarist".

My plan is to build a one-side view only,acrylic face, tank with a 4m length display about 600mm deep.The sides and bottom out of bricks/concrete and PVC lined and the water contol plant at the back of the tank, out of site, easily accessable and enough space for salt water ageing,quarantine facility, enclosed from weather etc.

I would like to design the set-up in such a manner that it is almost fully automated to avoid further alterations to piping and adding on stuff that "I should have thought of "
and might end up running out of space in the 'machine' room.

Is there perhaps some-one that could give me advice regarding the most practical plant outlay:

1.For regular water changes-piping arrangements.Quarantine set-up?
2.Overflow Design for max oxination or incorporate activated carbon in overflow?
3.Should I use undergravel filter combined with sump/protienskimmers/live sand/rock?
4.Can I use local sea sand and marine life?
5.Is there any suppliers in the Garden Route that can assist me?

I have lots more questions and am willing to pay for cosultations. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks
anton:wave2:
 
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Welcome anton, Sounds like a great project.

Kanga should be able to help out on the sketchup side :whistling:

4.Can I use local sea sand and marine life? - Yes, just get the right permit for collecting fish, No coral collecting :nono:
 

Kanga

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Welcome to MASA Anton, wow you certainly have a serious project on your hands for a first project :thumbup:

My plan is to build a one-side view only,acrylic face, tank with a 4m length display about 600mm deep.
I assume you are planning on keeping a reef (corals etc) in that case I would go wider, seeing you are already going to make a considerable investment making it at least 1M wide will give you much more option in terms of aquascaping.

1.For regular water changes-piping arrangements.Quarantine set-up?
Quarintine should be separate in fact I would suggest a hundred litre tank with a canister just with filter floss (to be changed every 3 days) ofline from your system, bare bottom just with some non porous items(PVC tubes etc ) for fish to hide etc

For regular water changes I would have a spare pump in the sump with plumbing running to the drain, thus you could pump out lets say 400L and then fill the sump again (obviously your return pump/s will have to be off during this stage
2.Overflow Design for max oxination or incorporate activated carbon in overflow?
A coast to coast would be great but a 4 metre one would be a bit much IMO, thus a 1M one each side (will do a sketchup a little later)


3.Should I use undergravel filter combined with sump/protienskimmers/live sand/rock?
Skip the undergravel filter, run as big a sump as possible with as big a DSB as you can, huge skimmer/s with live rock.

4.Can I use local sea sand and marine life?
Local sea sand yes, collect from below the low water mark and close to rocks where there is more life.

Marine life, mosselbay is a little cold (sea temp) for life to go in a tropical reef tank, however you will get some hermit crabs etc that will you can use

5.Is there any suppliers in the Garden Route that can assist me?
I am in PE and use an LFS who has done some work for the Mosselbay Museum (aquarium side) So he does go up that way, PM me if you would like his details




Good luck with this amazing venture and we would love to see it evolve:peroni:
 

jacquesb

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Hello Anton! I am so glad that you found us, and am posting your questions BEFORE you start! A very WARM welcome to MASA!

Here's my input on your questions - I am by no means a "guru", BUT, am sure that I can possibly add something (I currently have +-1300 litres of total water and life stock that I am looking after ;-)....

Comments on your questions:
1) Definitely a quarantine setup - could be connected to your main plumbing, that the quarantine water is 100% EXACTLY the same as you main display tank water.
= you can use one each of a 1.2 metre (4 foot) tank, one for you quarantine tank, and one for your water changes... Perhaps have a 1.8 metre even for water changes - this should be enough water to change at a time. You would then fill up this tank with tank water (this tank is plumbed directly from your main display tank - perhaps via the sump or overflow)..... you should have a gate/ball-valve which you can close to "disconnect" the water-change tank from the main tank water cycle in order to drain the 1.8 metre tank, and then to replace with fresh new NSW or synthetic salt water....
IF you are so close to Mosselbay, you could possibly get Natural Sea Water (NSW), instead of using synthetic salt - but this would be your choice....
2) Overflow - look at a coast to coast design with durso standpipes (perhaps at the left and right (short) sides of the tank).... Then you can have the water flow backwards/downwards towards your sump
3) Undergravel filter - NO NO NO - :) This is old technology, and could most likely cause very high nitrates in your tank. The best way to go, would be to have the following 3: either a few decent, or one HUGE AWESOME skimmer, a BIG DSB (Deep sand bed - sugar-fine substrate between 12cm and 15cm deep), and an "algae scrubber" filter (algae scrubber "uses up the nitrates/phosphates" before it can cause problems, phosphate reactor
4) Local sea sand/sea life/natural sea water - YES - you should be able to, IF they are able to survive warm tropical sea water temperatures - our marine tanks run between 24 and 27/28 degrees celcius..... I know that the Benguela current sometimes run through there, bringing warm water fish down to Mosselbay and further south.... Sea water - as long as you can either filter the sea water, or perhaps get it from a local public aquarium (is there one in or around Mosselbay?)
You can chat to "Lindsay Pollard" (this is also his user nickname), about this further, as he is in Plettenberg Bay area - reasonably close to where you would be....(I think Plet is +-100km's away from Mossel Bay?)
5) Ask Lindsay - I am sure that he could help you more with this?

Now - you should PLEASE ask as much questions as possible, and look at as many tank designs that you could find, before finalizing your designs and making up your mind....

Kanga (Hermann) can also assist with showing you some designs of sumps/tanks.
 

viper357

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Welcome to the forum Anton, you're in good hands, you will get all the help you need here to make your aquarium a successful venture.
 

Kanga

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1) Definitely a quarantine setup - could be connected to your main plumbing, that the quarantine water is 100% EXACTLY the same as you main display tank water.
Jacques, although the reasoning is sound to have the plumbing on line to have water parameters the same, the idea (In my :peroni:soaked mind at least) for quarantine would be prevent any new livestock from bringing pests/disease into my sytem. Hence a new fish with white spot in an inline quarantine tank would infect my whole system.
However offline in a BB with nonporous items would be easy to clean and do water changes after the specimen was quarantined

Just my 2c worth :D
 
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Hi all,
I am happy to join this site!!
Great to have you here

I am planning on building a 4000l marine aquarium
Wa Wa Wee Wa

I have been doing some recearch (6-12mths on and off) and got most of the little knowledge I have,from Robbert M.Fenners book "The Consientious Marine Aquarist".
Highly recommended. You cannot get better advice


I would like to design the set-up in such a manner that it is almost fully automated
The only way...

Is there perhaps some-one that could give me advice regarding the most practical plant outlay: Chuckle chuckle...we would all love to help. Although we also love to disagree.:)

1.For regular water changes-piping arrangements...Remote mix & Pump it...Quarantine set-up?Used as an excuse to set up a second tank....important.
2.Overflow Design for max oxination or incorporate activated carbon in overflow? Both... the overflow allows you to surface skim....carbon because most of the revered tanks run carbon 24/7
3.Should I use undergravel filter No combined with sump/ Huge protienskimmers/live sand/rock? Yes
4.Can I use local sea sand ?Hmmmm....very popular...however be aware of the potential consequences
I have lots more questions and am willing to pay for consultations. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks
anton:wave2:
Pics of your progress will be payment enough. :)
Each step ask the questions, and we will debate the answers. Your tank sounds like a dream system waiting to happen,... However... be aware of the new laws being passed regarding elec. consumption. The lighting alone for a 4000l system will consume at least 3000watts. You must then also realise that all that light is going to cause a lot of heat. Chillers use heaps of juice. Doing water changes of 15% per month will also have a considerable cost tab.

Welcome to MASA
 

jacquesb

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Kanga - The idea what I had was that water ENTER the quarantine tank (you only keep the water in the tank as long as you introduce new fish) from the main tank / sump. When there is already water in the quarantine tank, then you should have a second outlet that will allow you to dump the water from this quarantine tank to the drain. In this way NO water from the q/tank will / should enter the main tank - there should be gate/ball valves inline with the plumbing on both sides of the q/tank.
 

Kanga

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Kanga - The idea what I had was that water ENTER the quarantine tank (you only keep the water in the tank as long as you introduce new fish) from the main tank / sump. When there is already water in the quarantine tank, then you should have a second outlet that will allow you to dump the water from this quarantine tank to the drain. In this way NO water from the q/tank will / should enter the main tank - there should be gate/ball valves inline with the plumbing on both sides of the q/tank.

Aha, perfect young man:thumbup:
 
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everything has pretty much been said but.... Fiber line the thing... dont go for the PVC as it can VERY easily get a hole in it
 

Kanga

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a 4000L reef really tugs the heart strings:biggrin:
 
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hi anton, sounds very cool, perhaps a "fish catching compartment" would also be very handy in such a huge tank?

cheers,
ant
 
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Thanx to everybody for the great/positive response! I am now more exited about this project than when I got my first bike or when I did my first scuba many moons ago!

Any leads on sun panels/wind turbines as alternative elect?
Anton
 

jacquesb

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Hi Anton - At this stage, the best "alternatives" to the "norm", would be:
- use natural lighting (if possible at all)
- use 12v pumps/power-heads - as you can connect these to batteries easier
- a few people have suggested trying solar panels, and wind-energy
= solar panels are extremely expensive - if you CAN afford it, you should also look into inverters (I don't think solar panels are 220/250 volt, rather 12Volt) too....
= wind power have been touted - but I don't think tried yet....

Other alternatives - generators - but this brings it's own problems (earthing, smoothened AC output, petrol/diesel usage, noise, big enough capacity, etc., etc.)
 

moz

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Welcome. We wait with anticipation for your tank. The best thing you can do for your tank is research, then some more research, so this is a good place to start.
 
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