The Blue Window - 500 G in wall, never ending build

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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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Who is your builder for the sump in Florida? I might need one pretty soon.
I had a heck of a time finding a custom builder willing to take on the project. After going through 3 previous builders, I was starting to get a complex.

I am using American Aquarium (http://www.american-aquarium.com/). Chris has been wonderful to work with so far. He has restored my faith in the aquarium builder community. I stumbled upon them while browsing through YouTube of all places.

Dennis
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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it's ridiculous how jealous I am right now. Of the house AND the tank. Im going to go lie down
Thanks. Any size of tank can turn out awesome. I have some 2 gallon jars that I am really, really looking forward to getting setup as reefs. I have all the bits and pieces, but need to get other projects done first, lol.

The sump builder came up with a neat alternative to the sand bed support I had designed. The support has to hold up the media divider the 4" sand bed sits on, but I still need to be able to remove the pipes running through the bottom of the media bed for maintenance, etc.

The one I designed would have had to be removable, the whole stand, but instead he came up with design below. Three of these ribs will be cemented in permanently along the length of the media chamber. My stressing to him that my design was only meant to be inspirational and he should feel free to alter things were a better way is possible seems to be paying off. Let's see what he comes up with for the probe/dosing/float mounting solution.

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Dennis Cartier

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The builder has sent through some more photos of the sump progress. The sand bed support structure is looking very neat. I was wondering how much weight it would need to support, the sand bed sitting on it will be 4" deep, but the supports and frame look like they can handle it easily. The frame in the photos will have a perforated screen sitting on it that holds the sand bed up and separates it from the coarse media bed below it. Don't mind the raw edges, I am sure these were hot off the CNC and had not been sanded yet.

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That's pretty cool. Is he using 3/4" PVC .... that's what it looks like. I just contracted with AA to build me a tank so glad you are pleased with them.
 
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Dennis Cartier

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That's pretty cool. Is he using 3/4" PVC .... that's what it looks like. I just contracted with AA to build me a tank so glad you are pleased with them.
Yes, it is 3/4" expanded PVC. It is their (AA) standard material for sumps. It is a type of PVC, closed cell foam board. According to info online, it is strong, durable, light and easy to machine. All attributes that should make it an excellent choice for sumps.

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I had a heck of a time finding a custom builder willing to take on the project. After going through 3 previous builders, I was starting to get a complex.

I am using American Aquarium (http://www.american-aquarium.com/). Chris has been wonderful to work with so far. He has restored my faith in the aquarium builder community. I stumbled upon them while browsing through YouTube of all places.

Dennis
Thanks I will check them out.
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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Things are getting sticky! The sump builder sent some photos of the panels being glued into place. All that remains is 1 side, the top frame, lighting, a few finishing touches and it should be done.

For anyone wondering about the 3 chambers on the right side of the photos below, they are for a DyMiCo inspired filter. A filter that removes nitrates and provides food for corals and filter feeders. The 36" compartment will have about 10.5" of coarse gravel with 5" of fine sand sitting above it with a perforated screen in between the medias. The coarse media has a series of pipes that run through it and allow for water to be recirculated through the media. There are a few other DIY versions of DyMiCo filters here on R2R. This will be my take on these style of filters.

Two tanks back, I built a reverse under gravel filter like PaulB uses, in the bottom of my sump. The tank got over run by blue discoma mushrooms, but the RUGF really worked well. That experience is leading me to attempt the DyMiCo type of filter.

When I was breaking the tank down, I thought I would salvage the under gravel filter plate. Nope, the gravel had fused into a flat plate of live rock 2" thick and there was no way I was going to be able to pull the 24"x24"x2" hunk of rock out. I was dosing into that compartment and I guess precipitation had fused the gravel into a very porous shelf rock.

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I almost forgot, here are the mock-ups for the probe/dosing/float mounts. In my model I had 2 rails that you would slide plates into and could stack multiple types of sensors (at different levels). I was worried it was going to be kind of clunky and asked for other suggestions. This is what the builder came up with. The example mount could be extended longer for multiple probes, tubes, floats, etc. I think it is a great solution.

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Things are progressing on my sump. The vertical rails for mounting probes/floats/dosing parts were machined up. A mockup of a pair in the sand bed section is below. The The last side was affixed today which means it should be water tight now. The top frame still needs to be created and glued on, along with a bunch of other little things. The ETA for completion is next Friday. Yay, finally. It only took me 2 years to find the right builder to bring my vision to life.

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This was during a leak test (early this year). At this point I had more of the supports in place. There is only one end complete in the photo, but the end supports will form the upright rails for the light rack to move up and down on are visible on the left side of the tank.

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Happy to report, no leaks were detected.

Dennis
Just started reading this build tread and very jealous. I'm in Texas and we do not have basements to have fun with. I cant wait to see how it turns out!!
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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Yes, I am still planning on the RK2 XFlo 6-3.5 skimmer. The 30" size was based on the recommendation from the manufacturer (400-700 gallons), and to be truthful, I need a skimmer tall enough for the waste drain to be above the top of the sump for plumbing a hose. Only the 30" model would meet that requirement.

The tank will have a skimmer, but it is not expected to play a very big role once the bio load has established. It will come in handy during the first year or two. All the water entering and exiting the DyMiCo filter in the sump will bypass the skimmer.

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Yes, I am still planning on the RK2 XFlo 6-3.5 skimmer. The 30" size was based on the recommendation from the manufacturer (400-700 gallons), and to be truthful, I need a skimmer tall enough for the waste drain to be above the top of the sump for plumbing a hose. Only the 30" model would meet that requirement.

The tank will have a skimmer, but it is not expected to play a very big role once the bio load has established. It will come in handy during the first year or two. All the water entering and exiting the DyMiCo filter in the sump will bypass the skimmer.

Dennis
That makes sense. I thought the skimmer would be your main filtration. Please send an update after you have the skimmer installed; I cannot find a review of this skimmer anywhere online.
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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That makes sense. I thought the skimmer would be your main filtration. Please send an update after you have the skimmer installed; I cannot find a review of this skimmer anywhere online.
I know what you mean about the scarcity of info. I even made a thread on here asking for opinions and got zero response. There is one guy on here who has one, but he had not used it yet, the last time I spoke to him. I will post once I have mine purchased and in use.

Dennis
 
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Here are the latest shots from the sump builder. Almost done. Remaining are the heater rack, poly carbonate screen to sit under the sand bed and separate it from the coarse media below it, top frame, lids and LED lighting system.

Feedback and any must have options that I may be over looking, welcome.

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Dennis
 
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Probe holders?
Probe, dosing tube and float holders. The builder put a placeholder pocket that I can drill out for a probe. I plan to get a variety of blanks in differing lengths. That way I can just add the needed mounting holes for the specific type I am mounting.

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Had lots of fun catching up on this thread! Especially impressed with the light rack systems and the sump. I also feel you on the redundant life support systems, I have triple redundancy (even dedicated 4G internet connections on dedicated backups) on anything critical. Thankfully, unscheduled outages are measured in the hours-per-decade here, but even so, I have lots of redundancy from the electrical level on up.

Btw, an impressive array of skills you have there. I had to enlist a small army to build out everything I wanted done, I’m definitely not good with my hands like you are. A very high level of quality and service is the norm here which makes it easier. There are even university programs for aquarium systems and maintenance!

I’m really interested to see the plenum/DSB (seems there’s a new term, “DYMICO” but I’m old school) works out. I’ve always used DSBs (without plenums) in the ~25 on-and-off years I’ve had marine aquariums. I don’t think I’d ever attempt an aquarium without large regular water changes, but I’d be interested to see if even at least part of what they claim is capable is actually true. Let me know if you do any water column sampling and microscopy. I’m constantly surprised how many anecdotes and debates happen in this hobby when some basic (and not so basic) lab equipment would show us the truth. It’s been a while since I had access to a high end lab, but it was enlightening. AquariumScience.org does a solid job but focuses mainly on freshwater (although it was nice to see the myths behind carbon and purigen get debunked finally). Another reason myths can persist is that it’s a rare for a system to reach 3+ years.

I’ve never liked dealing with skimmers and don’t use them on my systems currently, so it’s nice to see another build that focuses on alternative methods of nutrient export.

Do you have access to NSW there? If you do, I highly recommend it.

Oh, have any photos of those two gallon jars you mentioned? I also like systems of all types and sizes.

Stay warm!
 
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Fritz

Do you have a build thread or tank journal here on R2R?

  • YES and I keep it updated

    Votes: 133 40.5%
  • YES but I don't keep it updated

    Votes: 62 18.9%
  • NO but I want to create one

    Votes: 87 26.5%
  • NO not interested in starting a build thread or journal

    Votes: 36 11.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 3.0%
AquaNerd
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