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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a used 72 gallon bowfront aquarium with overflow, a penn plax Cascade 1200 canister filter and a 2 bulb industrial h5 high output fixture. The fixture doesn't come with a plug or hanging point so I will probably have to switch it for something else. More immediately, the pump comes with what looks like half inch tubing. The tank came with a 1inch overhead with what looks like a Dursa intake on top and a sawed off PVC on bottom. The PVC underneath is glued on and the standpipe is loose fitted. The other hole has a 3/4 inch threaded bulkhead. There is a pvc going from this bulkhead to a lokline return. It is slightly too tall for the notch for it in the weir, so had it come with a top, it wouldn't fit. The bottom side of this bullhead has what looks like a 90 degree fitting for 3/4 inch tubing. The threads are worn completely through.

For the moment, I have filled the tank to about 4 inches below the weir, unscrewed the 3/4 in bullhead and stuck both tubes of the filter through here, over the top of the weir and into the tank to test for leaks and pump function. I used the included mesh screen for the intake and spray bar for the return. The whole thing has gone 24 hours without issue.
At this point I am not clear on what to do next. My first tank was years ago, a 20 long with deluxe hood and hang on back filter. This tank is something else. I thought that maybe I got the wrong filter because of the diameter mismatch. But Fluval's new 704, the biggest on their site is also half inch tubing. What's going on here and how do I fix it?
 

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Welcome to C-F!!

Congrats on the 'new' tank! I would definitely replace the existing PVC fittings with new if they are loose or damaged and you might be able to alter the notch in the weir so that any piping would allow a glass lid to fit properly. Pics would definitely help to show what you are dealing with here.

Just a guess but I will assume this tank originally had a sump set up and the filter was either an extra item or was used normally over the rim of the tank. It is possible though that the previous owner didn't provide all the adaptors IF he connected the canister filter to the bulkhead fittings using reducer fittings.

Are your plans to only use a canister filter on this tank and utilize the drilled holes to route the plumbing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not sure. Original assumption was that pump was designed to fit the bulkheads. Now I read that half inch diameter maxes at 300 gph not sure how to proceed. I prefer DIY to premade as personal satisfaction. Need to absolutely minimize machine sounds. Water sounds okay. Was hoping to do a Sandy bottom tank with pictus, plants and mbuna but am now told some of that has several contradictions. I guess the easiest solution is to reduce the existing plumbing to 1/2 barb and worry about the height of the return if and when I get a lid. Still not sure about several other things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Other issues:

Purchased a t5, 4 ft 2 bulb HO fixture from home depot for $55 and two 6500 K bulbs for $12 each. But fixture instructions needs me to hole-punch the frame, splice a plug and invent my own hanging mechanism. Thinking of returning it for a $40 4ft LED, 5000K, 4200 lumen. plug and chain included. Or 4 ft. 32-Watt 2-Light LED Grow Light with cord and chain. Or T8 or T12. Not sure which is best bang for buck. Or maybe a bunch of regular, medium base bulb sockets tied together and hung from a conduit.

Haven't figured out how I am going to do water changes yet. At 72 gallons, a 30% water change is 22 gallons or 180 lbs. Thinking of putting a garbage can on a dolly and using a pump. Someone suggested that a sump is easier for water changes. Not clear how since I actually know nothing about sumps.

The theoretically ideal tank to me is one in which the water never needs changing, because, except for the addition of food and nutrients, the lifeforms present create a perfect balance. In terms of nitrate I heard that a deep sand bed solves this until a deep sand disturbance releases hydrogen sulfide into the water, killing half the tank. Not sure what eats hydrogen sulfide. Also heard that there now exists an aerobic nitrate eater.

I am still not clear what a sump is supposed to do. The pictures I see have it being a sock on the bottom of the overflow which defies gravity by staying on, a tank of water with baffles, a reef protein skimmer which doesn't work in freshwater (I think) and a pump. I am thinking of running the overflow directly to the filter, outflow of filter to deep sand bucket, return pump to bucket. Not sure if that makes any sense, or how to address keeping water levels sympathetic with one another.
 

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Thanks for the pics!!

If you never plan on running a sump, you can DIY some fittings to hook up the filter to NEW bulkhead fittings underneath the tank IF you have enough space between the top of the canister filter and the underside of the tank on the stand. I'm not familiar with the Cascade 1200 filter so I don't know where the disconnect valves are located on that particular filter when you would need to perform maintenance.

I would not run the canister filter hoses the way you currently have them because you or someone in your home may forget and fill the tank to normal water height and cause a serious water leak over the weir and down into the stand and the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also, hard city water. Something like 180 ppm GH, 180 ppm KH. So fish selection is hard water fish only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Deeda said:
I'm not familiar with the Cascade 1200 filter so I don't know where the disconnect valves are located on that particular filter when you would need to perform maintenance.

I would not run the canister filter hoses the way you currently have them because you or someone in your home may forget and fill the tank to normal water height and cause a serious water leak over the weir and down into the stand and the floor.
The disconnect is actually a ball valve where each hose attaches. Really convenient. Has 4 media buckets. Bottom is course sponge. Others are a charcoal bag and 3 fine filters. Thinking of replacing two of the fine filters with cut up kitchen sponges for extra bacteria.

I actually just filled the tank to prove the tank and filter would work (and let's face it, I was impatient to get water in my new tank). I am going to buy the new bulkheads today or tomorrow I think. I think I will just use screw instead of slip joint so I can try attaching the canister to the bottom of the bulkheads with appropriate fittings and have the option of switching to sump later. Do you think I need ball valves and or/unions as well?
 

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Sorry I was away today and last night I didn't get a chance to respond to your other questions.

If you might switch to a sump later on, I would probably install ball valves on the bottom of the bulkhead fittings so that you won't need to drain the weir section later on OR heaven forbid, the weir section develops a leak from the main section of the aquarium. Don't skimp on ball valve quality, find ones at home stores that turn easily or pay for a quality product. You may want to search some topics that other members have posted for their designs.

Choose the bulkhead fittings that fit your hole diameter, in other words don't reduce them for the immediate hook up to your filter. This way if you choose to go sump, you can just remove any reducer adapters to get maximum flow through both the intake and output bulkheads.

Water changes can be done directly with a Python style adapter that hooks up to a traditional faucet with a removable strainer or even a garden hose (I prefer the drinking water safe type) rather than using trash can or buckets based on your water test results. The only thing you would need to add when using the direct fill method is the correct water conditioner that treats either chlorine or chloramine, whichever your local water company uses. Plus of course using both hot and cold water to the correct temp for the tank.

Water changes do more than just remove nitrate buildup in your tank and the fish will appreciate the influx of fresh water weekly. I and many others choose to do 50% to 75% weekly water changes though that may depend on stocking levels, species kept and other factors.

I think deep sand beds are more frequently used in saltwater applications and I don't see a reason to go that route for cichlids plus Lake Malawi cichlids tend to move the substrate into piles in the tank and deep sand beds would have nothing at one end of the tank and all the rest at the other end.

Check out This DIY Sump article from the C-F Library for a quickie look at setting one up. Of course there are many different ways to set up a sump so maybe look through some other topics posted in the DIY forum.
 

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Get a Python and use the sink for draining and refilling.
 
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