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Aio All In One Aquarium Layout

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by aibcarpentry, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. aibcarpentry

    aibcarpentry Member

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    Not something I've seen too often in planted aquariums but I'm hoping a few people with experience will just give me their views and opinions on the system.

    I think this system would suit me just right having the filtration built into the end of the display and allow me to access things with ease e.g. filter foam is quickly and easily removed for a rinse through, I'd also not have the pipes to clean through quite the same amongst many other things I would in a conventional external filter. I can also hide a lot of the things away like dosing pipes, ATO, heater etc.

    Water is intended to sit somewhere around 12-20mm below the rim depending if I use a jumpguard or not.


    -In the first section (weir) it is intended that water is drawn through the top so it will hopefully remove any surface scum, water would then go through some filter foam supported on egg crate to remove any debris.
    -Next would be an under baffle and over baffle leading to the second chamber which water would flow down and mainly be bio balls for biological filtration but would also allow me to add things like Purigen or activated carbon should I choose all supported again on egg crate.
    -Again there would be an under baffle and over baffle leading to the return section where I would locate the return pump, heater, ATO, dosing pipes and CO2.

    The return pump will be adjustable so give me some control on flow passing through the system and I also plan to give an RFG Random Flow Generator a go to see quite how that works for getting flow around the tank.

    There are some drawing which are not finalised; the main changes being the weir comb will start with a solid piece (not a large space), the weir comb will also be turned into slots so still the same height but with a 5-8mm capping piece over the top, ledges adding in the first section and I think that's about it.

    Experienced views welcome to give me some input please.

    thumbnail_BUTLER 1.jpg thumbnail_BUTLER 2.jpg thumbnail_BUTLER 3.jpg
     
  2. bshenanagins

    bshenanagins Junior Poster

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    AIO tanks are pretty neat and work well with smaller tanks. I had a rimless AIO JBJ 20 gallon that was mistakenly/purposely thrown out by my father when I moved out with all my equipment ...still bitter! ANYWAY, it’s a great tank, just watch the water level in the sump portion because it can evaporate fast on the pump side. I think the only disadvantage is the small space for bio media, however, it still has more room than any HOB filter. Just keep up with your water changes and you’ll enjoy your results!
     
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  3. aibcarpentry

    aibcarpentry Member

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    Thanks for the input. :)
    I think there's a reasonable amount of space for media in the filtration section and I can always add more under the filter foam in the weir section if I think this is needed and the sponge will act as bio media itself too; I'm unsure what is the right amount in all honesty and don't think there is a simple answer.
    Water level should be taken care of with the ATO so that's that bit covered.
    Water changes I've a nice easy system for with a drain close by and a TMV (thermostatic mixing valve) I just plug my hose into and fill the tank back up so they're easy enough and I've always stayed on top of them in the past.
    I'm hoping it will be just as efficient on a larger aquarium; it's just like a canister filter only added into the tank really isn't it? o_O
     
  4. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    I still have my Nuvo 16 and I loved it. I hate that it takes away display space but at same time the filter is really great feature
     
  5. aibcarpentry

    aibcarpentry Member

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    My 900mm long Aquarium became 1100mm long to take this into account; I could have an 1100 aquarium display but I'm content with the 900 and I see this filtration as ideally suited to me.
    I've a whole list of reasons behind my decision after weighing up the pros and cons of the different filtration methods and although untested by myself I just don't see why this shouldn't work and did question why you don't see it so much with planted aquariums but I think you have hit the nail on the head @rajkm - People would rather the space be used as display than filtration.
    We will see how it works out; I should have the aquarium by the end of next month, give it a test run to make sure it's working how I hope and then look to get it hardscaped through February sometime.

    Still interested to hear about other people's opinions of the method, how it's worked for them, tips etc.
    Also anyone who has experience with a RFG (Random Flow Generator)
     
  6. Swissal

    Swissal Lifetime Members
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    Just a thought: Personally, I would consider chopping off 2 or 3 cm from the top of the higher of the two inner walls of the media chamber. Reason being, if you ever want some finer media in there, it can clog, causing the pump to run dry. If that higher wall on the pump side, is a little lower and the media clogs, water will overflow into the pump chamber and avoid this problem. Wouldn't be a problem of course if you don't want fine foam in there, or you are meticulous with your maintenance, or you have competent people to look after the aquarium when you go on holiday, and please don't go changing your design if you're sure it works for you. Just wanted to give the hint! Bin there done that :)
    It is also tricky to know how much to chop off the top to make it work as suggested. Ideally it should be just above the planned waterline, but each barrier from the overflow onwards will give some resistance causing the levels to drop slightly in each chamber. The best way to find out how high that wall should be is by experimentation with the pump running, but my guess is that it would need to be just about at the hight of the planned water level. You could also consider making this height adjustable, e.g. A relatively low wall, and then a perspex piece to go on top, that can slide up and down as needed. That way, you would also be flexible if you ever decided to up or downgrade your pump. Just some ideas, good luck!
     
  7. aibcarpentry

    aibcarpentry Member

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    Thanks for the input @Swissal :)
    Water Level is planned to be 10-15mm below rim so that's still 45mm of weir comb worst case (60mm down from rim) and the same with the height to the top of those baffles, do you think this is enough?

    This is something I really did put great thought into and talked through with the aquarium manufacturer and every part of me was saying I wanted to drop the height of certain baffles but when explained made me understand. (I think!) You have got me thinking again though! ;)
    Can you tell me a bit more about your experience?

    I hadn't intended to add any filter floss in the long term and any foam would be in the weir chamber. IF I were to add any filter floss I think that at the bottom of this weir chamber would be the best place so it's sending 'cleaner' water through to the bio media.
    I do plan to rinse the filter foam through with each water change as it really isn't difficult to reach in, remove the foam and give it a quick rinse which is one of the big pros to this system in my opinion.

    My pump has a run dry shutoff and also digital flow control so will allow me the flexibility at the touch of a button.

    there is unfortunately only one way to find out! - It will be having a trial period before I add any hardscape etc so if anything is obvious then hopefully I will pick up on it (I do plan to add a few layers of filter floss to imitate clogged foam in the trial) If it doesn't work then I can change the baffle heights at this time before it's full of plants or fish. I did explore height adjustable baffles but the tank builder didn't seem keen.
    I plan to experiment a clogged weir also to see what effect that has if the pump runs dry and then how much water my ATO container could contain as a maximum to ensure I don't have an accident. o_O
     
  8. Swissal

    Swissal Lifetime Members
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    I am sure that your aquarium designer has done the right thing and advised you correctly. I just know that I myself tend to have periods where I can't give the aquarium as much time as it really needs, maily due to my job, and that's when things go wrong for me. I also like to build things with as much flexibility in there as possible, so I can try new things in the future if I want. So i maybe tend to diy things a little too much on the safe side, or on the over-flexible side, but it works for me.

    Regarding "experiences", mine don't match your in-tank system precisely. My "experiences" come from the sump side, but there are similar flow concerns there, since this is also an overflow system.
    I my case, I converted an old aquarium into a sump-type filter and to test my concerns about flow, I made some experiments with the height of the baffles before finally fixing them with Silicone. One of the main concerns with a sump is that it has enough capacity to hold the water that will flow down from the aquarium if the pump fails. This is the volume of water between the typical fill level in the aquarium, to the lower level of the weir. By making the last baffle of the sump lower, the water can overflow into the pump chamber, and use that capacity as well if needed, i.e. if the media in the middle chamber clogs and the the pump fails. At the same time, if you make this last baffle too low, you lose filter space, because in a sump, everything needs to run down hill. So it needed some experimentation to get baffle heights right. In the end, I made my drip tray at the top of the middle chamber (which holds a sheet of filter floss) a little smaller, so that water can overflow into the coarser media if the filter floss gets clogged. This eliminated the need for concerns about the precise height of the last baffle.

    So as I said, I tend to overcomplicate things sometimes, but if we apply some of these flow concerns to your situation....
    - The height of the weir should be enough in my opinon, but this will depend on how much flow you want. I guess your aquarium designer has done his calculations and has the experience to judge this right according to the intended pump spec.
    - That the pump flow is controllable is certainly an advantage and if the pump cuts off when it runs dry, this is also great. But the heater is also in there. What if that ends up with no water around it, will that cut off as well? I would put the heater into the first section behind the weir. The chances of that section running dry are practically zero (though even there, I would make the top height of the comb maybe 5 mm lower than the top of the aquarium, just to be over-cautiously fail-safe.)
    The auto top-off is also in that last pump section, so what happens to this if the media gets clogged. As the water in the pump chamber falls, it will call for more water to be pumped in, I guess into that same pump chamber. But what will happen to this water? It will get pumped into the aquarium, which will raise the level there, and increase the flow throught the weir etc. slightly. But if the media in the middle section is clogged, the water can't get back to the pump section. So the ATO will call for more water to be pumped in, raising the water level in the aquarium further. The safest place for the ATO is where it can measure the water level of water in the aquarium itself, but this defeats the whole idea of hiding the technology in the filter section, so the next best position for it would again be in the first chamber, behind the weir, in my opinion.
    I have also checked some of the water volumes. The pump chamber will hold 10.8 litres (Completely full). This will never all be pumped into the aquarium, because the pump will shut off first. So lets say it will shut off when there is only 5cm of water left in the pump chamber. This still means that the aquarium may, in the worst case, need to take another 9l of extra water with completely clogged media (approximately, because the pump chamber will never be completely full either). But if you calculate the volume of water that the main aquarium could take before reaching the top, this would be 4.4l for a water level of 1cm below the rim (or 6.6l for 15mm below the rim, or 8.7l for 20mm below the rim). (Hope you have a tiled floor :)).
    So my suggestion is simply to make the internal baffles no higher than the intended water level of the aquarium. Lower would be even better, since the water level behind the weir will always be a little lower than in the main aquarium (otherwise there would be no flow). But there is certainly no need to make either baffle any higher than the water level in the aquarium, since the water in the filter will never go higher than that. With even lower baffles, if the ATO adds more water, and levels rise, you at least have a safety margin where the excess water will run over into the next filter chamber at some point. And if you experiment a little to see what happens if the first and second sections get completely clogged, and how the water is topped off and overflows into the last chamber, you can reduce the level of the last baffel further to allow more safety margin. Do that right, and you can then safely leave your heater and ATO in the pump chamber, and all the worries described above go away (not completely of course, but it will improve the margin for error greatly). I would recommend to experiment by blocking sections "completely" to simulate absolute worst case scenarios, but that's just me.
    Your problem is of course that you are asking someone else to build this for you, and he will need to know what you want before you can experiment. Only suggestion I have there, is to go with the lower option, because you can always add height easily later, with silicone or small pieces of whatever material you are using for the filter body. Again though, I don't want to be responsible for things going wrong, it's just how I would think, but you and your designer need to know best!
    Only other concern is with the ATO. The volume of the ATO tank should not be more than the aquarium will take without overflowing.
    One last point. In my opinion, you can put filter floss in the first chamber, but this won't stop gunk developing in the other media. The action of bacteria produces gunk everywhere, so disturbing media further down the chain, will mean that it gets pushed into the aquarium. Many people use the finer media at the end of the chain to give the water that final polish. Personally, I don't feel it makes a big difference either way, or if gunk gets into the aquarium (shrimps love it), but placing the cloggable element early in the chain, and allowing for some overflow in the case of clogging works fine for me.

    Sorry for the long post, not easy to explain in brief. Hope to have given more ideas than concerns. Best of luck to you
     
  9. aibcarpentry

    aibcarpentry Member

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    I understand so I'll try and work my way through it.
    Unfortunately this isn't a realistic option for everyone.
    Titanium with both overheat and dry running protection cutouts ;)
    something not discussed in all honesty; also something I'd not really given any though on so far. My pump can turnover 2500 LPH but that's turned right up.

    I need to look through and try to answer you better with a lot of things and realise there is not a vast amount of space in the aquarium with the water level only 10mm, or even 155 below the rim.
    What the drawing doesn't show and is quite a big thing is the whole filtration section will be dropped below the rim just by that few mm for emergencies.
     
  10. Swissal

    Swissal Lifetime Members
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    OK, sounds like you have everything covered. Lowering the filter walls will cover the worst case scenario, and stop the ATO adding more water, and the heater should be OK also. No need to answer the above in any more detail, from my side, ... just if you want to.
    I would be interested to hear how it goes with the flow though, especially medium to long term, after the media is established, so it would be great if you keep us posted.
     
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  11. aibcarpentry

    aibcarpentry Member

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    Maybe a big thing to not mention and add a drawing like that! - I completely forgot.
    It's only lowering them by that little bit (few mm) but should the worst happen then would hopefully take care of things.
     
  12. aibcarpentry

    aibcarpentry Member

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    So I had this design made and thought I should give it the 'complete blockage' testing so put something that completely blocked the intake off, simply as the amount of water still available to the pump is far greater than the space in the display. It was quite a buttock clenching moment as I allowed it to get higher and higher before it started to trickle over but it was so high and brimming that the slightest bit of disturbance sent the water over the side and I'd not allowed it to completely run its course or considered the ATO!
    I took the decision to try and trim some from the top using a router, which in all honesty done a far better job than I ever imagined it would. 6mm (1/4") down I tried again and although it will run it's still at a level that I'm not comfortable with.

    This has led to me thinking over time about adding something that would shut the system down if this was to happen and think it is the way I will look to go forward.

    There's not a product I'm aware of in the UK at the moment that targets this exact issue so would be something DIY; considered something optical, float switch/valve and neither really appeal to me. Sometimes the most simple is possibly the most efficient so looking to add something which at tankside is essentially 2 pieces of wire that when contact is made with water will complete a circuit that then turns things off. Far more to it than this but I think this explains it in a way that everyone (including myself) understands!

    I still haven't got the system setup properly and is currently acting as a temporary tank for the 3 aquariums in the house whilst things are changed, moved and hopefully improved upon.
    This gives me the opportunity to change the design and improve upon pieces I think I should have done differently, a few of the baffles and the outlet being the main ones. This involves taking it out and starting again but as I'm having the acrylic cut and assembled for the 2 smaller aquariums the price to add this one I think is sensible and would give me what I hope would be an improved system I could be happy with.

    If I was able to easily make a system like the InTank ones which involve pull out baskets then I might look to that but reading about how people having issues leads me to think just sticking wih shelving way be the most sensible option.

    I would consider some kind of internal 'skimmer' or height adjustable blade which could hopefully allow me to adjust things to skim the water surface a little more whilst still leaving the whole front grill available for flow and plant blockage.

    As ever opinion is most welcome. :)
     
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