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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been mulling over the idea of a building a ~ 500 gallon Plywood tank. I'm in the very early stages. I just had what I think is a great idea but i'd like to hear from the folks that have done something similar before I get to far into the plan of it.

So I currently have a 135g tank that i'd likely use as a sump. My plan, rather than a usual sump setup, is to have the sump above the main tank. so the 500g would be in a usual viewing area in a wall. approx 6 - 10" above the main tank I would build a frame that would fit the 135. I would have a pump to get the water up to the 135 and a gravity return.

I have a lot of thoughts here already but i'm going to stop and see what you all have to say. Looking forward to responses
 

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In theory, it would work, but it wouldn't be as effective.

First thought is, your pump would have to be in your display, and all the unfiltered water would have to pass through the pump to get to the sump. This could shorten the life of your pump for starters.

You'd need an overflow in your sump. If you just let it siphon, you'll drain the whole sump into your display possibly causing a flood.

Your display won't have a constant water level. It will drop somewhat when you turn on the pump, and any evaporation would then show up in the display. You will need to leave extra space at the top of your display to account for how much water will drain back into the display from the sump after a power outage.

If there is a problem, such as a blocked overflow in your sump, or a fitting that starts leaking, then its possible the pump could drain your entire display before you catch it if you're at work or something. With a normal setup, the sump can drain, and probably fry the pump from running dry/cavitating, but you don't lose a whole tank full of fish.

Just a couple things I thought of. You could make it work, but it wouldn't be as effective.
 

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In addition to what Rhinox said...

WHY?

I can't think of one thing that would be a benefit. :-? :-? :-?

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rhinox:
First thought is, your pump would have to be in your display, and all the unfiltered water would have to pass through the pump to get to the sump. This could shorten the life of your pump for starters.
Good Point that's the biggest flaw I suppose... I considered hiding the pump but I didn't consider the unfiltered water..

If there is a problem, such as a blocked overflow in your sump, or a fitting that starts leaking, then its possible the pump could drain your entire display before you catch it if you're at work or something. With a normal setup, the sump can drain, and probably fry the pump from running dry/cavitating, but you don't lose a whole tank full of fish.
I can definitely appreciate your point here but with the sump being directly over top of the tank I can't see the entire tank draining. Possible major Spousal fallout :roll: Your point is well made however.

The other comment about the waterlevel I see more as a statement and you accounted for my 'solution' so I have nothing to say there.

Dan:

Simply put SPACE!!

The room I'd be building to house the tank could only be ~5' deep. In order to get the most volume i could is to make the tank about 2.5' deep. That would leave me with 2.5' of working space behind the tank. Placing a sump behing compromises needed walking/working space. I want the tank to be 3' tall so that pretty much eliminates putting the sump directly under the tank (I think).. Also the amount of structure that I feel would be needed to keep the main tank supported would also be compromised by putting a sump underneath the tank.

Great points all around I really appreciate the feedback. I have some thoughts about these points and work arounds already but it's almost work time. I'm really hoping to keep this thread alive to work through this completely!

Thanks!
 

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just a thought.. why not have the sump below and to the side perhaps in a L shape? the thought here is you could hide the sump and still get all the support for the main tank that you want with all the benefits of gravity on your side
 

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Theoritcally you could put the sump behind there and build some sort of walk way over it or some sort of plywood box that you could walk on and remove the top to get access to the sump? I don't know what that would take to do and I dont know what your engineering skills are like, but that's something I would try to finagle.
 

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there are commercially available filters designed to sit on top of the tank. they are much shallower than a 125. I would think that you could build one of them easily enough and you would have less weigh to deal with. It would also make it easier to deal with how to make an effective over flow. The important thing would be to have a break between the delivery pipe and the water in filter so that in the event of power failure the water can't siphon back to the tank. The filter would never drain on it's own otherwise. If you were to have the water go into an overflow, with prefilter, the pump would never clog.
http://www.fishfriend.com/articles/aqua ... ers_7.html is an example of a commercial unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
More great information... I have a lot to consider, and a wife to convince ;-)

Thanks to all for the options so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been doing some research and trying to convince the wife. The wife I'm not sure about but i'm moving forward like this is a conversation i've won :lol:

I have been trying to establish glass thickness. I've found many great sites and .xls docs that tell me the thickness but I have yet to find whether to use tempered or not tempered glass. I understand the choice is somewhat mine BUT what is it on these calculators??

My Glass Dimensions will be 66x36"

Does anyone know for sure if I need to be getting prices on tempered or non tempered glass?
 

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BigDaddyK said:
Does anyone know for sure if I need to be getting prices on tempered or non tempered glass?
Assuming cost is not the limiting factor, here is what to consider:

-If a plate glass fails, it is usually a leak or a crack and water drains slowly to the lowest point of the crack.
-If a tempered glass fails, the entire front pane shatters and all the water is on the living room floor instantly
-tempered glass can be thinner, but you can always get thicker plate glass for the same strength as thinner tempered glass.

I will probably use plate glass when I get around to building my tank, unless I get a super deal on an appropriately sized piece of tempered glass (i.e. cheaper than the plate glass I would need). I think using either, the worries of the glass of either type actually breaking are slim, if the glass is appropriately sized. Tempered glass isn't just going to shatter if it gets bumped into. The last time I tried to break a tempered glass scrap window, I had to swing pretty hard with a hammer, and that was thin glass, like 1/8" maybe. Still, makes more sense to me to risk a chip or a crack rather than an instant flood, if for no other reason than "just in case".
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the input but it's not quite the answer I am looking for.

http://0.tqn.com/d/saltaquarium/1/0/0/a/1/glassthickness_chartenh_600.jpg

On this page there is a chart with the thickness require to be "safe". My Question is this. Is the thickness calculated on Tempered or Non-Tempered glass?

i.e. I want my tank glass to be 6'x3'. According to the chart i need 20mm Glass to achieve a safter rating of 3.08. is that measurement on Tempered glass?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
so.. i'm putting more and more thought into this and actually have almost convinced my wife to let it happen... sooooo I've found a place locally that is willing to sell me starphire glass that they used for thier tanks. it's not cheap but i'm hoping to only do this once so I want to do it right.

The structural design of the tank is underway but to help me convince my wife I did a quick sketchup of the room and what the added wall will look like



forgive the colours and rudimentary design. It's just to help visualize. I'm not going to leave a full 7" on the sides of the door and right side of the glass it will be just enough to have the trim and about 1 or 2 " of paint.

hoping to finish up the plans for the tank itself soon and will post then
 

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I think the tank would be more dramatic of a display if you could remove the access door and centre the tank on the wall,if you can of course access the tank from another room :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree with your statement 100% unfortunately that cannot be as there are cabinets and mirrors on the only other access wall. I'll have to make the best of it with the door. the only other option is to build it on the other side but my electrical panel is on that side and i'd prefer to keep easy access to it.

thanks for the comments though
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I had some time to make some sketches tonight.

This is my idea for the base. If you look closely you can see some 2x6's vertically on the back supporting a 2x8 beam. The reason for the span is so that I can hopefully sneak a sump in the back side that doesn't stick out more than a foot past the back of the tank.

This is the Stand:



I plan to wrap it in 3/4 ply for rigidity:



and finally the tank in its resting place:



The measurements are not 100% at this point. I'd like to do two things.. make the viewing area tallers and make the tank 3' x 3' inner dimensions. currently the front wall is planned to be 2x6 for added strength but I'm not 100% convinced it would matter when I add front to back bracing.

I have a thought on the support to keep the glass in place too. I am considering using strips of 3/4" Plywood Glued and Screwed. my theory is this. gluing the plywood horizontally in 2" strips should be stronger than a 2x4 on it's end (if that makes sense). Gluing and screwing each layer onto the last with paint grade ply on the top for a finished edge.

Please ask questions or make comments i'd love to hear them
 

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Why have a sump at all? Make the tank 5' from front to back and as wide as possible. Take six inches away from one end and that can be your filter. All you need is a large piece of foam for a filter. No need for an elaborate sump. I wish I would have done this with my tank... I will see if I can find plans on it. I think it will solve a ton of your issues....
 

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you know i have been pondering this set p for a while and have a few thoughts to throw at you....

1st if you are hard core for a sump... why not build a narrow one the same way you are building the main tank? a ply wood structure that is say 1 foot wide , runs the length of the tank, and is as deep as say from the bottom of tank to the floor?

another idea to play off thefishguy....... why not design it similar to an all in one tank? think large scale bio-cube... at one end have an overflow that runs through a first chamber with pads. floss and sponges... next chamber bio media (balls scrubby what have you).. a small chamber to run sacks of carbon as needed and then a return section with the pump connected to 2-4 out puts and positioned at different heights to creat current at a lot of levels front back middle (where ever you want them) its all self contained you hve the opportunity to change media as wanted or needed and it takes up only the amount of room as you make it .... i personally would build it off to one side but it can run across the back if you wanted...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
TFG: I hadn't thoght of something this simple (it's not a great idea just simple) . I had pondered several options along the line of what Bear had said. I had considered a sump-in-tank but was concerned about water pressure on a 3/4" piece of plywood and how to deal with that without compromising tank space.

I'm quite certain that I'm going to go with West Systems. My concern there is how to deal with multiple walls in tank and when / how to secure them (i.e coat entire back wall and frnot wall, coat 'inner wall' then install) I'd need to screw it together but that would technically compromise the front and back walls as i've just put several screws through it. (i hope that makes sense)

I don't really want to go the sump route to be honest I'd be quite happy having a simple filtration system in tank if possible... does anyone understand what my concerns are and have options?
 

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it really does make a lot of sense.... her ie another dependant on how you want to decorate....

you could make 3-4 submersible filters that run on power heads... these can be hidden in the back of the tank and each can have its own specialized filtration... as an example i have one in my 72 that is strictly mechanical and bio
i have build one (smaller scale) for my wifes tank that is bio mech and chem..... these can be made for a total of $25- $30 each and that includes the pump... this would eliminate any need for a sump if you ran enough of them or really large ones...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Bear... that's a good idea too. Being that i'm going to be housing Oscars and other such fish I'm going to want a lot of current though and I don't think the "little" pumps would do what I want. That said.. heres an idea based off a combination of yours and TFG's. do a 6" wall at the back of the tank (extending the tank closer to a 4' deep tank) that still leaves me some room at the back to wiggle through and get maintenance happening. I'd kinda like to have that wall made out of 1/4" or 1/2" tinted glass (would have to check on cost) that is notched like an overflow would be. This piece of Glass would also be drilled for 2 or 3 pumps at the bottom of the tank. I could route these through UGJ and force the waste to circulate back up towards the surface and in turn the filtration unit (dunno if I can still call it a sump :lol: ) 3 Mag 12's or 18's should be plenty i'd think. For the extra Cost/Power the 18's at 0 head should be awesome

does anyone know how silicone adheres to West Epoxy?
 
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