Blitzkragz' 12ft 375g rimless peninsula with rotary drum filter build

blitzkragz

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
275
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
I have been in the process of what I guess you could call a "Dream Build" for a couple months. My wife wanted to take the kids to Orlando over the holiday, Disney is great and all but one of the main attractions I knew I wanted to see was World Wide Corals. The guys at WWC were super awesome, and when we chatted about my project they strongly encouraged me to create a build thread, so here it is!

This build might be uniquely interesting to some folks for a few reasons.

First, I think of real interest to this community, will be the fact that I am hell bent on using a Rotary Drum Filter (RDF) for my tank. I can find no mention or reference to any other reefer that has actually done this. Think of an RDF as a filter sock chamber that magically cleans its own socks around 4 times a day. The name of the game is Ultra Low Maintenance. I will go into a lot more detail into my journey with an RDF as time goes on.

Second, I believe it could be one the largest rimless peninsula (room divider) tanks out there. I have spent a ton of time absorbing the information here on reef2reef and on YouTube, and have seen larger eurobraced/acrylic peninsulas, and larger rimless standard tanks, but no rimless peninsulas this large. I would love to see some larger if anyone can point them out -- the size I have chosen is purely a function of the available space I have in the room.

Actually it is only 12ft if you are rounding up -- I had to trim off 6 inches to fit piping and overflow on the far end of it. The dimensions are 138" x 30" x 21", and is being built by Custom Aquariums, around 375 gallons. The lead time they gave was 8-10 weeks, the clock starting ticking 4 weeks ago.

This tank will be in the heart of our home. Not in a corner, not against a wall, but in the smack center of everything. There is a small support wall that was always kind of awkward separating our kitchen from living space, and it dawned on me is perfect for the end of a peninsula (space currently occupied by a low 12ft counter/storage)

A primary dream I have for this tank is all about the surface of the water. I really believe hiding the surface of the water of a tank is such a wasted opportunity. There is something primally satisfying to humans about having some kind of surface water view. Ripples, reflections, currents, the calming randomness of it -- these are things that you only get by gazing at that magic boundary of water and air. So this tank shouldn't just be a window below water, but also be at a height and size where the water surface can be enjoyed just as much as what's below it. For this reason I believe 21" to be a "sweet spot" of height for the tank, with the rim being around 54" from the ground with stand.

For lighting, I have 6 Kessil a360x's. There are several reasons I have for this decision -- first being the low profile of them. There needs to be minimal obstructions to looking down into the tank. My plan is to get a long aluminum strip to make the connections between them as minimal as possible with no cords showing. I will be painting them all white. The bar will be hanging from the ceiling via two thin steel cables. Another reason is the shimmer the Kessils will give. I believe it really bump up the magic factor of this tank, both in the tank and the reflections of the water at night to the ceiling. My plan is for a mixed reef (not SPS dominant), so I believe 6 of them should get the job done. Another great thing about these lights is you can mount them close to the water, so that you aren't getting blinded by the bleed from lights hanging higher up without a hood -- I will be hanging these around 6.5 inches off the surface as BRS recommends.

front.jpg


Strings outline roughly where tank will be. I have 150lbs of Marco Premium Shelf Rock cooking in a Brute trash can. Before I put them in there, I played with some arrangements. I am thinking 4 islands of increasing height so that from the peninsula end you can look in and get a real sense of depth.

back.jpg


The strings sag a bit so the bottom of the tank will be higher than shown -- the bottom should be about even with the "hard" back of our couch (although a couple inches will be obscured by the puffy pillow parts from a standing view on this side). Sitting in the couch though you will be able to peer into the tank in its full glory.

side.jpg


Here is some of the equipment that has come in thusfar. I went the Abyzz A400 route, as the filtration will be in the basement and there will be around 14ft of head pressure.
loot.jpg


This is all I had time to post for now -- lots of details to come on the
filtration room is basement, with large mixing station, welding and fabrication of the stand, and on the RDF!
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics

UM Aquarium Club

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Messages
165
Reaction score
152
Location
Miami, FL
Looking forward to watching this progress. Ticks a number of boxes on a "dream" reef for me including, tiers, rimless, and peninsula. Any ideas yet on stocking of fish? Without knowing much about RDF method of filtration how much space will this take up? Would you still have a sump in the system or would this take care of the need for that?
 
Best reef aquarium LED lighting
OP
blitzkragz

blitzkragz

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
275
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Looking forward to watching this progress. Ticks a number of boxes on a "dream" reef for me including, tiers, rimless, and peninsula. Any ideas yet on stocking of fish? Without knowing much about RDF method of filtration how much space will this take up? Would you still have a sump in the system or would this take care of the need for that?
Thanks! I already have a Seamless Sump system that came from Custom Aquariums I will detail. The RDF will be at the head of it. Think of the RDF as a filter sock chamber that magically cleans its own socks around 4 times a day. The rest of the typical sump stuff still applies.

The RDF itself has dimensions of 31.50 x 26.38 x 20.87 -- so definitely only realistic for a fish room type installation.

For fish, I plan to try taking it slow and peaceful. I definitely want a starry blenny. In a tank this size, I would love to have 7-9 of a schooling fish that hang out together, possibly threadfin cardinals. A couple banggai cardinals. A yellow tang, a blue hippo tang, and a pair of clowns. For sure some cleaner shrimp. No plans for anything "special needs" like moorish idols or harlequin tusk for me. I already have a waterbox AIO 28 sitting on my floor waiting to be setup that i plan to use for quarantine.
 
Last edited:

ks2509

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 10, 2018
Messages
116
Reaction score
140
Awesome start definitely following since a massive peninsula is my ultimate tank once i retire. That would give me a place for my dream fish...pair of blue throat triggers I know not exactly reef safe but hopefully my luck would be good enough to keep them. A group of 4-8 cardinals will look amazing in there.
 
OP
blitzkragz

blitzkragz

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
275
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Awesome start definitely following since a massive peninsula is my ultimate tank once i retire. That would give me a place for my dream fish...pair of blue throat triggers I know not exactly reef safe but hopefully my luck would be good enough to keep them. A group of 4-8 cardinals will look amazing in there.
I have some basic livestock plans mentioned above, and frankly at this stage am more focused on the hardware side of things, but love to hear suggestions like these. Not looking for a predator tank (had one of those a looong time ago), but fish that can be reef safe, and just need to be interesting to watch. The vision I have is for a lot of smaller interesting creatures spread throughout the tank. You would be able to see different creature storylines depending on where and which side of the tank you are on.
 

Anirban

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
4,863
Reaction score
7,922
Location
Chapel Hill
I have some basic livestock plans mentioned above, and frankly at this stage am more focused on the hardware side of things, but love to hear suggestions like these. Not looking for a predator tank (had one of those a looong time ago), but fish that can be reef safe, and just need to be interesting to watch. The vision I have is for a lot of smaller interesting creatures spread throughout the tank. You would be able to see different creature storylines depending on where and which side of the tank you are on.
With 12ft length you can put a school of tangs in there..
 
OP
blitzkragz

blitzkragz

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
275
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Working on the basement mixing station today. Over the last year or so I took up a welding hobby, it comes in handy! This is the base I welded up for the containers. 1.5" OD x 0.12" Wall A36 Hot Rolled Mild Steel Square Tube from onlinemetals.com. The same material I will use to make the stand for the display tank. I wanted to have just enough space underneath to store 5 gallon buckets.

20181215_161519.jpg

I decided to go big on the tanks, with two 210 gallon containers purchased from ntotank.com. This size was the largest I could get and still fit them through a doorway. Coke for scale!
20190101_094610.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
blitzkragz

blitzkragz

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
275
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
So let's talk about RDF's.

RDF's started becoming popular around 10 years ago in the koi hobby. They are about as close to zero maintenance mechanical filtration as you can get, and can handle massive amounts of flow (although you can have much lower flow than their ratings). Water flows into a screen-wrapped drum, and when the water level rises because of detritus, a float switch kicks in, the drum is rotated, and a spraybar cleans the drum by spraying the waste on the screen to a waste drain.

There are a few hurdles I think have prevented anyone from trying this in a saltwater aquarium:

1.) their large size
2.) noise
3.) need to be plumbed to a waste drain
4.) their high cost
5.) possible effects on salinity
6.) metal parts

But I am adamant on making a concerted effort into working around the above if it means no long term maintenance with filter socks. Since this is a fish room install, problems 1, 2, and 3 aren't an issue. I am fine with 4. 5 is a "let's see what happens". 6 will take some custom work.

Currently there are two main RDF brands you can buy in the US. There is Profidrum and Red Label. I contacted Profidrum and got confirmation that their filters can and have been used in saltwater with a "salt seal kit". The problem I have with Profidrum is they are mostly made of 316 stainless steel (the drum, the screen, the tray, etc are all steel). There would be a lot of steel being completely submerged in salt water, and my understanding is that even 316 stainless will corrode over time if submerged. A small amount of leeching might be fine on a fish only tank, but I would be afraid could harm a reef tank.

Then there is Red Label. Red Label RDF's are mainly made of Polypropylene, with relatively few metal parts, and their filter screen is nylon. A couple issues with their smallest model is that the high pressure pump sits in the filter itself (meant for koi ponds, it uses the filtered pond water for the spraybar). Another is the few metal parts in it are not 316 stainless.

I decided to go with Red Label, and take on the project of adapting it for saltwater use, which I think in the long run will be better than having a mostly steel filter. It shipped out today from seasideaquatics.com. My plan is to disassemble it when it arrives, and send the metal parts to a machine shop and have them duplicated in titanium. Some things like standard screws I might be able to get titanium versions on Amazon. It should be pretty straightforward to modify it so that the spraypump sits in an external tub filled with RO, and then something like a Tunze Osmolator to fill it up after a spray cycle.

Here are some pictures of the filter I have coming:

IMG_10671.jpg
IMG_10651.jpg
IMG_10661.jpg
IMG_10641.jpg
IMG_10681.jpg
IMG_10691.jpg


Here is a video of one, kicking off its cleaning cycle at the end:
 
Last edited:
OP
blitzkragz

blitzkragz

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
275
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
What about noise levels in the house?
This will be a basement fish room install. So not an issue for me. Also there is a cover for the filter (if you look in the video above it is sitting on the ground), so the noise would be reduced.

Another factor regarding noise, I think the number of daily spray cycles in a saltwater aquarium would be way less than an outdoor pond where you have it plumbed to a bottom drain with leaves, pollen, etc entering the system. So for a reef tank, you could probably get away with having it just do a set two spray cycles a day when noone is home, as opposed to constant monitoring of water level. The amount of flow they can handle even when detritus builds up is insane. That is still way better and no maintenance compared to manually changing filter socks every 3 days.
 

MSB123

Someone out there put something smart here.
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
3,453
Reaction score
3,192
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
This will be a basement fish room install. So not an issue for me. Also there is a cover for the filter (if you look in the video above it is sitting on the ground), so the noise would be reduced.

Another factor regarding noise, I think the number of daily spray cycles in a saltwater aquarium would be way less than an outdoor pond where you have it plumbed to a bottom drain with leaves, pollen, etc entering the system. So for a reef tank, you could probably get away with having it just do a set two spray cycles a day when noone is home, as opposed to constant monitoring of water level. The amount of flow they can handle even when detritus builds up is insane. That is still way better and no maintenance compared to manually changing filter socks every 3 days.
So basically it is a big roller mat :)
 
OP
blitzkragz

blitzkragz

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
127
Reaction score
275
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
So basically it is a big roller mat :)
Totally different! Buying rollermat fleece every month, monitoring how much you have left, and changing it out = maintenance. Having a moist soiled roll of fleece hanging around seems like it would smell as well. With an RDF, all you need is a water supply. No maintenance, indefinitely.
 

MSB123

Someone out there put something smart here.
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
3,453
Reaction score
3,192
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Totally different! Buying rollermat fleece every month, monitoring how much you have left, and changing it out = maintenance. Having a moist soiled roll of fleece hanging around seems like it would smell as well. With an RDF, all you need is a water supply. No maintenance, indefinitely.
Oh. That’s really cool! I want one.
 
Corals.com
noopsyche
Boom Corals
Top