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Ok, help me build my 180

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by midazolam, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. midazolam

    midazolam Junior Poster

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    You guys talked me into the 180, now help me put it all together! Pockets will be pretty deep on this project, but that doesn't mean I want to spend money I don't have to. I want quality stuff, but I don't wanna pay an extra 200 bucks for a pump that for all intents and purposes performs as well as another. I do need the opinions of the experts! Here's what I'm currently thinking.

    I'm going to do bulkhead filtration/returns. Have the ability to automate water changes via the ACIII. I'll have to get someone to come out and hook up some plumbing. I also would like to be able to take the waste water and irrigate my landscaping outside since I live in a desert. I feel bad just flushing the water after I paid for it. I'm probably going to do mostly "low maint" plants (swords, crypts, etc) but want to have the option to go for some of the more light demanding plants if I want. Will probably end up a discus tank once I master the plant side.

    Here is the equipment I'm considering.

    Bio Filter: Nu Clear 547
    Mech/Chem Filter: Nu Clear 533
    Heat : (2) Pentair Single (which heaters fit in these things?)
    UV: Pentair QL 25T
    CO2 Injector: Mazzei Injector
    Controller: ACIII

    Things I'm not sure on:

    Pump: Open to suggestions. Would like to keep 1" plumbing if possible. I know the Iwaki's are popular around here, but they are also pretty pricey and I've heard rumors that they aren't all that energy efficient. My desires from a pump are reliable, quiet, and efficient. I'm thinking that I'll probably end up getting a second pump either on initial set up or several months down the road and add extra filtration and heat.

    Light: Might go w/AH supply kits and build a hood, but also like the looks of some of the fixtures. Strongly considering use of MH for a 2-4 hour "noon" period in addition to PC/T5 but that poses configuring issues.

    CO2 Regulator: no idea...open to suggestions.

    What else did I forget?


    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    If you are already thinking a second pump, slow down!

    I would get the best pump you can afford and get a high pressure one. May not have as much flow, but I wish I had gone that route.

    I have a Mag drive 1800 from my sump, but is low pressure. I added a couple of Y loc-line sections and flow was reduced A LOT!

    You are using a Mazzei and these require good pressure. I have to use a separate pump to run my Mazzei.............

    The panworld pump is also good and made my a former engineer for Iwaki.

    I would use a high flow Hydor Koralia or two, or a couple of good powerheads with the converter kit (for high flow), for flow INSIDE the tank.

    I have over 2400 gph in Hydor pumps for my 180, so apparently a high flow pump is inadequate.

    I would give this a higher percentage of available funds personally. Flow is too vital to a tank.


    Think about what type of plants, growth you want. Get something that you can adjust the height of, and also has separate switches for say the PC and the MH.

    You don't need 4 or 5 wpg to get excellent growth of most anything, if c02 and ferts are dosed properly. 2 wpg is fine for most.

    Again, get the best you can afford. I got the Sumo regulator and am very happy with it. I have heard good things about the Rex Grigg brand as well.

    You will have this stuff for years, so don't skimp if possible!

    Don't forget a couple of drop checkers.

    What about substrate? Nutrient rich substrates will help if you underdose of forget to dose the water column. Or plain gravel will also work...........

    Plan your flow now and scaping now if possible.

    Also, think about organization for the wires, c02 equipment, nu-clears, etc.

    Easier to make it nice now than later when the tank is in...

    What about a sump? Do you have overflows and pre-drilled or no?
     
  3. midazolam

    midazolam Junior Poster

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    That sounds reasonable. I'll look into those pumps. I'd prefer to get adequate circulation from my returns to keep stuff out of the tank/concealed if possible.




    I want a lawn of hair grass or Lilaeopsis but I think both of those would work with 2 or so wpg. Otherwise mostly swords, crypts, and anubias because I don't want to be grooming stems every week.



    I've heard good things about Rex's stuff. Definitely on the list. I'll look at the sumo.

    Thats the plan. I'm in no rush. Would rather take 4 months to get the thing set up right than to rush into purchases that I'm unhappy with later (did that w/my 75 last time)

    I'm gonna use ADA aquasoil for substrate. I haven't bought the tank yet because I'm still getting opinions. I want to do the bulkhead intake/return like tom did on his 180. I think it looks soooooo much cleaner without the wires and stuff hanging and has the potential to be much quieter.

    As far as planning the plumbing, I think that will be a little easier once I've decided on what I'm definitely getting. I'm going to build the stand myself (cause I like to do that kind of stuff) and will keep wiring and plumbing in mind then too.

    Thanks for the info and tips. I'm sure I'll be posting here a lot as I do more research and develop questions I don't realize I have right now :)
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    My impression, based largely on observing myself, is that we tend to try to save money when buying the glass tank. We forget that the tank is the first thing everyone sees when they look towards our aquarium. I keep promising myself that the next time I start over I will break that money saving habit and go for a really nice ADA tank, then do my frugal thing only with the "invisible" parts of the system. What tanks are you considering?
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    A top of the line GC tank ran 1600$, not including some ship cost etc.
    Starfire etc.

    The ADA equivalent run about 3000$.

    That's a large $$$ difference, but the edge work was nice.
    Still, I know some local builder in the LA area that will do it for less and also do nice edge work.

    Point is, look around and see if you can get someone local to make a nice large tank, 3/4" thick glass, beveled outside edges, explain the quality that you want and demand, the silicone work etc. They will charge a bit more for this, but it's worth it, I think a nice tank such as I mentioned will be about 1500-2000$ depending.

    Lee Mar will also make them at a high level as well. These can be ordered through some LFS's.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. midazolam

    midazolam Junior Poster

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    I did a quick google search and did find a couple local places that advertise as custom aquarium builders. I'm not sure exactly what to ask for as far as the silicone work, however. How do I describe it other than, I don't want the silicone to look crappy. I will have to look into seeing what they offer. I had initially thought about just getting something like an AGA, but Vaughn's point is a good one. Ok. Keep the good advice coming!
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Can I ask why a normal 180 gallon tank purchased at the LFS, say all-glass brand, or Oceanic would not do?

    Pet supplies - Aqua Tank 175_200Gallon Reef Read_Oceanic

    I have an all-glass for > 5 years and no problems.

    I don't spend a lot of time looking at the silicone in the corners.

    The tank does not leak, and looks fine to me...........

    While I hate the middle brace, I have learned to live with it.

    Just not sure that perfect beveled edges and no visible silicone will make that much difference compared to the money spent.

    However, your tank, your way :)
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    In fact any glass tank, that doesn't have bad optical distortion through the glass will do. And, I have also learned to live with the flaws in the various tanks I have had. So, it comes down to how important you find it to have a near perfect looking glass box to hold your water, plants and fish. When I see the ADA tanks others have I immediately regret my decision to go the CraigsList route. For the size tank I have, 45 gallons, an ADA tank would have been something like $150 more, which would be a fraction of the total cost of my setup. Clearly, a 180 gallon tank adds another zero onto the numbers we are talking about, but the principle is the same. As you said, it is up the the person doing the buying to decide where his/her emphasis is.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Where are you located?
    If in the SoCal area, there's a really good maker, near ADA level as I just got a tank set in the stand today from them.

    Charley and Fish tank factory.

    Good workmanship, good prices, great service.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. midazolam

    midazolam Junior Poster

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    I'm in El Paso TX...pretty good drive from SoCal...and really from anywhere else in the civilized world. Not a lot in the way of LFS beyond petsmart. One TINY store that said he could get me a 180 for 850...didn't ask much in the way of details. I could always go GC as they appear to deliver to las cruces NM which isn't far away (there may be a decent LFS there, I'll have to investigate).

    New question. I've been doing some looking around and may forgo the canisters all together for a sump. I figure I could build an acrylic sump exactly to my specs pretty easy and w/o spending too much money. Seems easier from a maint point of view. I have very, very little free time usually so a filter thats easy to maintain and requires relatively infrequent maintenance seems like a plus. I've been searching, and heard mention of a thread where building a sump was discussed. Could anyone point me to that thread or give me some ideas? I could inject CO2, put heaters and stuff in there (save money on inline heater units). I figure the money on pvc vs. acrylic would be a wash so I'd save a considerable amount by not purchasing the canisters....

    Thoughts?
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    See if GC will do a beveled edge, the sanded edge work is crap.
    Ask them.

    Then it might be the best deal for you.

    A rimless GC 180 is heavy, 3/4" glass, I'd go with the normal glass though, get the built in over flow, drilled holes, and the stand is a decent deal for this sized tank, they will give you a decent deal on that.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    A sump is easier to plumb truth be told at this scale. A lifeguard return pump in the 1000-1500 gph is a decent watt per gpm flow rate.

    Venturi CO2 feed into the return, lots of space for carbon, zeolite, and a bag filter for very fine particulate removal, also, much easier to service than a canister filter.
    Same level of water in the tank.

    Better O2 levels for larger schools of fish.

    Looking back, I think I may add built in over flows, much easier.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. khoile

    khoile Junior Poster

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    Hi Tom, can I get some contact information for Charley and Fish tank factory?

    Thanks.
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Tom,

    Looks like you have come full circle on this :)

    I remember one of my first posts a year ago, you suggested to remove one of the 2 I have in my tank for more room, and plumb a canister....

    Are you thinking the lost space is worth the other benefits? The surface skimming is the best IMO, and no waterline issues is also nice.

    Always interesting how the thought process evolves esp as I know you have been experimenting with and w/o sumps.....

    I think a sump will work well for you. You can do a lot with them and they work well.

    Only thing if you build it, sumps are notorious for de-gassing of c02 (along with the overflows). When you build it, think about sealing it as much as possible to prevent this.

    I know Tom has posted on this many times before.

    Also, don't forget to plumb a system if possible to facilitate your weekly water changes!

    You don't want to bucket this amount of water weekly!

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Home
     
  16. midazolam

    midazolam Junior Poster

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    So I found out I can get a Lee Mar from my LFS. Starfire/rimless would be pricey though...like 2000-2500 with overflows. He had one there and it looked pretty damn nice.
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    That's not a bad price if you considered it's being shipped to you;)
    And it will look nice.

    Just do not plan on moving anytime soon.

    They are heavy

    Regards,
    tom barr
     
  18. midazolam

    midazolam Junior Poster

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    I'm stuck here for 3 years...after which I'll be paying someone to move all my crap :)

    He said they come shipped in these crazy crates. He said he didn't think the offered glass overflows, but I guess thats not the end of the world.
     
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