Thanks for your help: here's what I've built - 150gal, closed loop canister x 2,


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
May 21, 2010

I've been keeping fish for a number of years, but had to give them up when I joined the Army. After doing a number of stints in Iraq and other places, I've come home and taken up fish yet once again. This hobby has done wonders for me and my mind. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for all the help that I've found in the forums. I thought I'd share my creation that is largely a product of this forum. This is my second tank since I've been home, which is almost a year now. The first tank I assembled was a 70gal Fluval Osaka, planted, running two canisters, with no CO2. The new tank is 150gal, closed loop canister, Tek Light, CO2, and planted. It's just in the setup phase, but thanks to all of you, it's been an overwhelming success thus far. Everything you see here was the result of questions and reading various methods from this site - From drilling to plumbing to stand building. Anyway, the tank has been only setup for a couple of days now so the layout is not complete. The plants that you see have been hastily thrown in due to time constraints, but the hope is that they will help the cycle process. I would have used the dry start method that Mr. Barr, and others, have used with great results If I could've spent the time doing it. The only real reason why this was able to be realized was the fact that I moved into a new place. Of course more room and space required a new tank. Here are some photos, although the quality of some of them is questionable. For those that seem to bicker about Fluval vs. Ehiem....well, I decided to include one of each. At the end of the day these things are about discovering a 'work in progress'. Thanks again for the help and expanding my horizons and I look forward to continuing in the forums.

Best Regards,
Justin Szkalak


This tank is from Marineland that I picked up from a LFS on a tank sale. The dimensions are odd and challenging: 48x24x30 but I decided that I might be able to make it work. I drilled this tank using diamond hole saws - as odd as drilling glass seems at first, the process worked out nicely. I never did this before, but reading and research and a bit of motivation got the job done. Slow, carefull, lots of water and a good cordless drill run @ low speed. I basically canted the drill to keep the bit from walking, and then evened out the grinding once it was seated. For water, I had my wife use a hose to apply water. On the right side I installed one 3/4" bulkhead and one 1" bulkhead that are schedule 80. The return consists of the OEM Ehiem spray bar that will be exteneded to reach higher so that I can distribute water flow accordingly, as each section of spray bar can be turned to the desired direction. If this does not work, I'll install an elbow @ the bulkhead and run the bar horizontal. On the right side are two 3/4" bulkheads. On this side I extended the intake to about midlevel so that I can draw water from the water column in different places. This may be unecssary, but I thought I'd give it a shot. The return is lockline that's 3/4", although 1/2" might prove to work out better.


This is a sorry pic. But this basically shows the bulkhead config on the bottomside. Basically two ball valves that are true union so that plumbing can be disassembled when needed easily. The Ehiem 2080 has two intakes and one return, so this is where the 1" bulkhead comes into play, which is split into two and capped with hose barbs to feed the ehiem.


Left side fed by Fluval FX5. I've tried to keep the plumbing as straight as possible to reduce loss of flow.


Right side fed by Ehiem 2080. This filter was picked up on a sale, suprise, for considerably less than current advertised prices. I am very happy with the quality of the product.


This is a better view of the bottom side for the fluval. This filter was also picked up on a sale from a LFS that was running a sale with an exchange for your old filter. So I took in a little Aquaclear HOB filter and picked this up for a considerable discount.


Here's the Ehiem Side: what you cannont see at this time is the C02. Water is pulled in on this side where it's split. An Ehiem hobby pump(1250) takes in water and C02, cuts it up and then re-introduces it after the 2080 and into the spraybar. Regulator and gear is via Sumo. Someplace in this rigging, a UV Sterilizer will be introduced that I use occasionally.


View of filtration loop in the stand. This may not actually be a true closed loop. Maybe this is better described as two seperate loops.


These plants were taken from my Osaka tank which were grown using no C02, Vals, Red Lotus, Couple of larger Swords, java moss, a variety of anubias, and numerous others. I am working on my plant identification and naming conventions. Sorry for not being more scientific.


The light is a 48" Tek Elite that I picked up, luckily with the help of a good businessman and discounted significantly, otherwise I'd be using a much more cost effective setup. It's a great light, just a bit expensive. It's hung using cable that can easily be adjusted up and down simply by pulling the excess cable so the light can be drawn up for service &c. I picked up Eco Complete for about 15 bucks a bag and this is the substrate that's being used. Once I introduce the driftwood, which i was hoping to have completed by now, I'll scape the plants in and introduce more sand in various areas. I am using a combination of PowerChrome bulbs at about 6000k and several AquaFlora bulbs. The light is cut into two banks for a total of six bulbs. The center consists of four bulbs on a switch, and the two outside bulbs are on a switch - it's overkill, but by using timers I can adjust light output easily. There are also cooling fans built into the light which is powered seperately from the bulbs.
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Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Sep 23, 2007
South Florida
Hi Justin,

Very nice job! Looks great!

Could you share some more details please on the following:

1. Brief description of each picture.
2. Plumbing configuration.
3. C02 setup and how it interacts with the plumbing.
4. Drilling steps if DIY
5. Cabinet build.

I think you get the idea. I see lots of things in the pics I am curious about and feel that any info you provide may assist others....