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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
155G Bowfront Build - scratched glass repair

In one year I've craiglisted my way from 35G to 75G to 155G Bowfront

I've learned a lot but time and again have fallen victim to impatience

I've been reading tons of Geoff posts, bugging FutureDoc for skimmer advice, even searched old Spanky posts. Now I'm ready to put in the knowledge, experience, and elbow grease!

The new tank:
Cheap find but tons of scratches. looked like frosted glass. Didn't know how bad until I cleaned it. So far I've spent 3 weeks buffing nightly with cerium oxide and, shockingly, it is paying off!

The sump:
40G breeder in garage on other side of wall from display tank. I'm tired of trying to get to equipment inside the stand for cleaning. Settling tank? Maybe. Refugium? Nope.

The Critters:
Predator Reef - Ive got a Volitan, Porcupine puffer, and Soldierfish, Toadstool, feather duster, Miami Vice, pulsing zenia, star polyps.

Lighting:
DIY LED

The approach:
Currently have nitrate issues. Will get into more details later but the basic premise is faux bottom, high flow, return piped to bottom (with siphon break) to force an overall bottom-up flow in tank. Need to make up for lack of cleaners due to predatory livestock.

Pics:
Buffed verse unbuffed
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Overflow and return design

This tank comes with corner overflows. Each has a 1'' drain penetrations and 3/4'' return penetrations drilled in the bottom.

As a student of the Bean Animal approach, I prefer to have emergency drains, especially since I plan to use 2 return pumps. Therefore I will use the 1'' penetrations as individually piped primary drains and combine the two 3/4'' inch penetrations to a single emergency drain

The display tank return pipes will come up and over the back, each with its own pump. One line will go to the bottom with a eductor, the other will connect to a pipe that rings the tank with multiple small outlets. Live rock and Faux bottom should obscure the pipes visually.

The return pipes will have siphon breaks at the water line.

The idea is to fight gravity and push detritus up and out of the display tank.

attached are some rough concept pics...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Not enough flow for upwelling approach?

It has been suggested that my upwelling idea would be ineffective

Assume both pumps will produce a combined 1000 GPH when head and pipe restriction are taken into account. At that rate, without mixing, the return water would create an average upward current of ~ 2 in/min.

Would the general tank flow produced by my power heads negate any effect from the average upward movement of the water column?

Would I be better off dumping my return water in the top while my power heads aggressively circulate the water at the bottom to keep detritus suspended long enough to reach the overflow by chance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Faux bottom experiment

Tried some test mixes for faux bottom. Not too happy with results. The fiberglass resin darkened the sand considerably.

I'm going to try a portland cement mixture next

The plain sand is in the cup on the left for reference
 

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It has been suggested that my upwelling idea would be ineffective

Assume both pumps will produce a combined 1000 GPH when head and pipe restriction are taken into account. At that rate, without mixing, the return water would create an average upward current of ~ 2 in/min.

Would the general tank flow produced by my power heads negate any effect from the average upward movement of the water column?

Would I be better off dumping my return water in the top while my power heads aggressively circulate the water at the bottom to keep detritus suspended long enough to reach the overflow by chance?
This is how I run both my 5 gallon nano and new 45g frag tank. The heavy flow works very well in a BB tank to suspend most particles into the water column and the heavier chunks will accumulate in low flow areas and can be siphoned out easily.

Whatever doesn't get caught by the skimmer should settle in the sump to allow for simple removal or you could run filter socks just be sure to change them every 2-3 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Faux bottom sample # 4

1 part white portland cement
2 parts crushed coral
3 parts sand

Best so far. Less plastery look. More natural color and texture variation. A few green dots b/c I used crushed coral from my 75G. I think a little sand and cc sprinkled on top could improve it.

I would like to have some small dune like height variations. I will need to practice with masonry tools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Major Sump Redesign

I stumbled across a pallet tank and started scheming

The new sump will hold 70G at 9'' depth. A built in drain will allow for easy water changes - I can elevate and vent the pipe right after the valve to set a specific drain amount for water change

The bottom is sloped toward the drain. With the spread out flow the pallet tank should double as a settling tank.

I will place a 40b on PVC stilts and divide it 35/5 for new water change water and top-off water.

Filter socks and skimmer will be at the end away from the wall for easy access.

Top of pallet tank will be made into a full sump hood with access ports. maybe hinged in half, but removable by a mechanism like a pulley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Muriatic Acid - My new friend

I've been trying to clean the old coralline growth off my overflows before I reseal the tank so i don't get any crud in the silicone - and because I want my new tank to look like a new tank.

Over a two day period I spayed them with vinegar and scrubbed, only to turn purple to white. I finally got fed up and bought muriatic acid. Thirty minutes later my tank looks like new.

If anyone out there wants to try this - be warned, this is a powerful acid.


  • I wore long sleeve shirt, gloves, safety glasses

  • I diluted the acid 5 parts water to 1 part acid - ALWAYS POUR ACID INTO WATER NOT WATER INTO ACID

  • Keep your nose away. I don't know what it smells like and I don't want to. I had a good fan running the entire time
 

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Hydro-Dynamic
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It has been suggested that my upwelling idea would be ineffective

Assume both pumps will produce a combined 1000 GPH when head and pipe restriction are taken into account. At that rate, without mixing, the return water would create an average upward current of ~ 2 in/min.

Would the general tank flow produced by my power heads negate any effect from the average upward movement of the water column?

Would I be better off dumping my return water in the top while my power heads aggressively circulate the water at the bottom to keep detritus suspended long enough to reach the overflow by chance?
I don't understand the 2"/min rise, but whoever suggested that a 500 gph pump
would not be enough for a bottom return was probably accurate, assuming
the other 500 would be at the other return(s) (multiple outlets).
I use a spray bar at the bottom of my display for the entire length, 5'.
Using the same pump the upper returns, BPs, and UV. The holes drilled
in the spray bar work quite well still at over 2 years in with no cleaning.
Drilled 1.025" OC @1/8" diameter, facing forward. Using a Blue Line 40 HD-X
worked a little better than the Water Blaster 7000 now.

In my other tank, I've designed a spray bar per Geoffs idea of ports forcing downwards creating a plume,
and I have to say, the spray bar in the DT works a lot better than the one I tried using Gs idea.
I'm using the same pump on a 40g (1270gph) and really like the smaller holes facing forwards better.
The spray bar brings it forwards, the power heads help bring the crud up.
Using MP40's ATM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Faux Bottom installed / Reseal complete

After buffing out the scratches and cleaning off the old growth, I resealed the tank with Dow Corning 795

For the faux bottom, after trying about 10 combinations, I found a winner!

1.5 pts sand
1 pt crushed coral
1 pt portland cement

Next task is painting the outside of the back glass black and working on Aquascaping.

I like the look of Coraline on the rocks but not the back glass so I've been experimenting with the 3D backgrounds. It would supply ledges for corals and overhangs for my lion fish to perch. the background combined with lower profile live rock in front of the wall should give the tank more open look. I want to maximize open swimming room for the larger fish.

Faux bottom pics below. Its hard to get a good feel for the sandy texture because the bright white was washing out my cellphone camera
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Rock Wall installed - Ready for scaping

After I installed the faux bottom I ran with the concept and created a rock wall.

The wall was made in three sections on top of egg crate, installed, then the gaps were filled.

Instead of the crushed coral I used for the bottom I used crushed oyster shell because it is cheaper. I used 50% more oyster shell than CC to increase texture. I kept the look rough and pushed rock salt into the surface.

I did not totally mix in the rock salt like agrocrete to keep the wall from having internal pores. I did this because the wall cannot be easily removed and I won't be able to 'cook' it in the future, so I wanted to be able to scrub the entire surface without providing too much refuge for pests. However, due to the porosity of the surface, the wall should act like a large piece of live rock.

Next step is to aquascape and cure the entire tank. Since the bottom, the wall, and about half my base rock is portland cement based I will need to treat the whole tank like a piece of agrocrete and cure it for a few weeks (hopefully thats all it takes). Any tips on shorting cure times would be appriciated. I will be using plenty of circulation, RO/DI water if I can (155G is a lot to make for curing), and will be regularly changing the water.

I've got a lot of piping, sump work, automation, programming, and aquascape tweaking to do so I should be able to keep myself busy while I'm waiting.

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