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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a 90-gal bowfront that's drilled with an overflow box in one corner. I'm not going to be using a sump and I'd strongly prefer not to have canister filter hoses running up the outside of the aquarium (as I intend this to be as much of a show tank as I can make it), so my thought is to remove the overflow box and plumb the canister filter hoses from and to the aquarium via the drilled holes.

- Might anyone here have experience in this? If so, I'd really appreciate any advice you can offer on the subject, up to and including specific plumbing supplies to use. Bonus points for recommending what I can use to make a sharp turn inside the aquarium just as close to a given hole (i.e. hugging the floor of the aquarium as much) as possible!

I'm also considering using not one but two canister filters, hooked up in tandem. In other words and because I don't know how to post a diagram here, having just a single pipe carry water from the aquarium through one hole, having that pipe split into two pipes/hoses that feed the two canister filters, and having the two outflow hoses/pipes from the two canister filters merge into a single pipe to carry water back into the aquarium through the other hole. Make sense? I hope so!

- Anyone experienced with anything like that? Again, any advice would be appreciated!

- Or in your experience, is that just way overkill filtration that's going to result in too much water flow in the aquarium? (It's going to be a Tanganyikan community tank, and I don't really want the fish blown around by currents.) One of the filters is a Rena XP2 (75-gal capacity) and the other is a Rena XP3 (175-gal capacity). I know I could supposedly just use the XP3 given its stated capacity, but I've as yet no personal experience with either filter (I bought them new quite some time ago, set them aside and then per force suffered an unexpected and extended hiatus from the fishkeeping hobby) and in general I prefer over-filtering - as long as it doesn't create any problems!

Thanks in advance, and a lot!

Gerry
 

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Hi Gerry!

Is this a glass tank with a plastic overflow box that runs vertically? Post a couple pics if you can. Measure the diameter of any and all holes inside the overflow box and post them.

It's not recommended to combine the intake/output piping on canister filters UNLESS you greatly increase the size of the connections AND have independent shut offs on both filters for servicing purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi back, Deeda!

Yup, it's an Oceanic 90-gal bowfront, with a tempered glass bottom that was drilled by the manufacturer and one of those black plastic vertical boxes for the overflow. One of the drilled holes has a 1 3/4" diameter and the other has a 1 1/2" diameter. The holes are both 1 1/4" from the nearest glass (side or back) and just a smidgen over 2 1/4" apart. (Sorry, I can't provide diagrams or pictures as of yet. I have some, but no photo host now that Photobucket no longer provides such service for free. Got a recommendation?)

There currently aren't any connections, just bare holes. I'll be happy to buy whatever fittings serve my purpose and, well, fit! (I should say that in general I prefer to buy better quality equipment and supplies when it translates into better performance and/or longevity.) I was already planning to plumb independent shut-offs on both filters for servicing purposes, but I forgot to mention that. I also plan to plumb an in-line heater somewhere in there.

Gerry
 

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C-F now permits attaching pics from your device via the Upload attachment found below the Full Editor window. There is a limit on the number of attachments per post.

Just as a quick reference, 1.5" diameter holes will use a 3/4" bulkhead fitting and a 1.75" diam. hole uses a 1" BH fitting. I've used the 1" BH fittings when I drilled my tanks in the fish room. I use the fittings from Jehmco and like them.

It might be difficult to plumb the in-line heater since it needs to be vertical to operate properly and that would entail having the filter output loop downward to make the connection to use the hole in the bottom of the tank.

I don't own any overflow style tanks so my suggestions are based on what I've read over the years. Hopefully someone with experience in this type project will comment and offer their advice.

Since you are in the planning stages, why not verify the filters do work and haven't been damaged or need parts prior to settling on using them. My usual procedure is to assemble the canister and use a 5G bucket of water to act as the tank to test for proper working operation. I usually set the filter on the floor and the bucket on the washing machine and it's worked well.

Another option if you are comfortable and want to run 2 filters is to drill the back of the tank so each filter is independent and this would allow easy installation of the heater.

BTW, if the tank was used have you checked it doesn't leak?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Deeda said:
C-F now permits attaching pics...
OK, I'll see what I've got to post and give it a go. Thanks for letting me know that!

Deeda said:
Just as a quick reference, 1.5" diameter holes will use a 3/4" bulkhead fitting and a 1.75" diam. hole uses a 1" BH fitting. I've used the 1" BH fittings when I drilled my tanks in the fish room. I use the fittings from Jehmco and like them.
Very helpful - thanks!

Deeda said:
It might be difficult to plumb the in-line heater since it needs to be vertical to operate properly...
Hm, I didn't think about that. Any reason it couldn't go on the filter input hose before it splits? That would be the easiest place to achieve verticality.

Deeda said:
Since you are in the planning stages, why not verify the filters do work...
Good idea! I'm not too worried about it, though, as they were stored brand-new in their original packaging in climate-controlled conditions. I suppose seals might have dried out. I'll definitely test as you suggest.

Deeda said:
Another option if you are comfortable and want to run 2 filters is to drill the back of the tank so each filter is independent and this would allow easy installation of the heater.
Man, I looked for this tank for so long, practically since Oceanic was bought out and the line was discontinued... I'd hate to take a chance on it being harmed by additional drilling; it would really break my heart. I like how you're thinking in all directions, though!

Deeda said:
BTW, if the tank was used have you checked it doesn't leak?
Not yet, but it's in by far the nicest condition of any of the 90-gal Oceanic bowfronts I've looked at over the years, and I got by far the most honest, upfront vibe from the guy selling it of any of the sellers I met in the process, too. He said he was the original owner, had it running until relatively recently and never had a leak anywhere but from one of the bulkhead fittings on one of those holes in the bottom of the tank - and said fitting had a hairline crack. He took off the fittings and threw them away before I ever saw the tank.

All that being said, I definitely plan to test the tank to make sure it's water-tight before carrying it up to our 2nd-floor master bedroom, let alone starting it up. Not sure how to do so without dealing with those drilled holes first, though.

Thanks again for all your thoughts, Deeda!
 

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I'd not be comfortable with using the bulkheads and a canister, even with shut off valves between the canister and the bulkhead.

What you might do is seal the bulkhead with the appropriate PVC fitting, and use the overflow to hold the heater and the intake to the canister, but run the hose over the top rim of the tank as would normally be done. The return can then be placed anywhere. In fact, I find the returns built into the overflows quite limiting - though I've currently not taken the time to DIY a better solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
nodima said:
I'd not be comfortable with using the bulkheads and a canister, even with shut off valves between the canister and the bulkhead.
I appreciate the feedback, nodima, and I'm willing to consider any advice that I get. But it's simply not persuasive to me for someone to say something like that without any explanation - and better yet, some experiential evidence.

With respect to your other thoughts, try to stay focused on my core desire for as naturalistic an aquarium as I can muster. So no big, black overflow box in the corner, (hopefully) no hoses running along the back or sides, etc...

Gerry
 

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There is no fail safe with running an intake through a bottom drilled tank, unless there is an internal component that will prevent the entire tank from draining. That is the biggest thing. Agree with your goals, as that is why I've gone to the bulkhead / sump route for filtration. Suspect that we'd find that what I had in mind with my earlier statement would align exactly with your goals, so to clarify on the returns.

I'd leave the bulkheads in place (adds some bit of failure prevention as only the water behind the bulkhead would be lost if filter leaks or something) The returns can be run up the outside of the tank and set up so that they just barely touch the water surface, effectively making them invisible.

IMO, running the intake and returns inside the tank, is more stuff in the tank than would be found by using the bulkhead for the intake, and running a return as outlined above.
 

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I would run a single cannister, the pumps will have 2 different pressures pushing water back to the tank, and the bigger cannister is going to win most likely pushing water back into the smaller cannister. I haven't run an retail inline heater, but the DIY inline heater I did run did not need to be vertical, you're just running water past a heating element towards a thermostat in an enclosed space, it shouldn't need to be vertical. As far as removing the overflow box; assuming it's the type with a grate only at the top, it will prevent the tank from running out if something catastrophic happens to the cannister or plumbing i.e. a fitting comes loose or the cannister opens unexpectedly. Leaving it in will allow you to hide the pipes/hoses from the cannister, as you'll likely want the outlet to be near the surface. You can pop the outlet over the overflow. Leaving the overflow box in, will allow you to keep everything but the very end of the outlet hidden, with no tubes or cords going up the outside of the tank other than your lights, if you use an inline heater in the stand with the cannister. As you suggested, i'd put shut off valves on both lines of the cannister whichever way you go. and you'll need bulkheads as deeda already suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK, I understand the concern about the catastrophic failure of a canister filter allowing a whole aquarium to drain. But I feel the need of applying some perspective to the discussion and my thoughts about it.

- Have any of you actually had this happen to you? Not to someone you heard about, but to you, yourself? And not just an annoying slow leak at an aged gasket, but a real tank-drainer? It's hard for me to understand how canister filters could be as hugely popular as they are if they're prone to such failure.

- If such a thing did happen to me with the tank plumbed the way I'm proposing, how would it be qualitatively worse than if I had the canister filter(s) running in the conventional manner? The aquarium would still drain to the point where the water was low enough to break the siphon in the hose - and I can assure you I'd be pretty much as unhappy about the tank draining 70 gallons as 80 gallons.

I'm not simply naysaying anyone's well-meant advice, but I'm just not the kind of person who accepts advice that doesn't entirely make sense to me without questioning it. Please don't take that to mean your advice is not appreciated, as I assure you it is whether or not I agree with all of it. And I do continue to mull things over.

Gerry
 

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gbin said:
OK, I understand the concern about the catastrophic failure of a canister filter allowing a whole aquarium to drain. But I feel the need of applying some perspective to the discussion and my thoughts about it.

- Have any of you actually had this happen to you? Not to someone you heard about, but to you, yourself? And not just an annoying slow leak at an aged gasket, but a real tank-drainer? It's hard for me to understand how canister filters could be as hugely popular as they are if they're prone to such failure.

- If such a thing did happen to me with the tank plumbed the way I'm proposing, how would it be qualitatively worse than if I had the canister filter(s) running in the conventional manner? The aquarium would still drain to the point where the water was low enough to break the siphon in the hose - and I can assure you I'd be pretty much as unhappy about the tank draining 70 gallons as 80 gallons.

I'm not simply naysaying anyone's well-meant advice, but I'm just not the kind of person who accepts advice that doesn't entirely make sense to me without questioning it. Please don't take that to mean your advice is not appreciated, as I assure you it is whether or not I agree with all of it. And I do continue to mull things over.

Gerry
Yes - I've come home to a tank 80% drained, not directly due to a filter, but due to a hose connection that came loose. I have had other issues with canisters over the years, but nothing as catastrophic as that incident.

Best practice with a deep intake should be to drill relief holes in it near the waterline to break the siphon, but I'd bet most folks don't do that.

As you receive feedback, keep in mind that you are effectively going against common practice in many ways.
 
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