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AquaticEngineer

PNW Temperate Tanks Using Marineland Commercial Systems

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Got my second systems finished last week, had to get this piece cut and drilled. Cost me $20, much better than the $60+ that marineland wanted for the same.

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Thanks for posting the vid. Have you been running the constant feeder? How are your nutrients? My tank decided to re-cycle, so I've been dosing bacteria. Seems like the population is fragile. I'm planning to add some bioballs to my skimmer's bubble trap.

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Thanks for posting the vid. Have you been running the constant feeder? How are your nutrients? My tank decided to re-cycle, so I've been dosing bacteria. Seems like the population is fragile. I'm planning to add some bioballs to my skimmer's bubble trap.

 

Still haven't started running the auto feeder yet, waiting until I pick up a skimmer for the new setup. I was lucky enough that when I set up my second system I was able to use almost 40 gallons of already cycled water from my large tank to get it going. I have almost 5 gallons of bioballs in each system right now. I'm hoping to pickup the skimmer this weekend and get it all plumbed in and working right.

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Instead of using a skimmer, use mussels, when you need to feed your anemones, rip one off and there is a meal. Mussels are real efficient at removing proteins and the like, another suggestion is tunicates if you find some.

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Instead of using a skimmer, use mussels, when you need to feed your anemones, rip one off and there is a meal. Mussels are real efficient at removing proteins and the like, another suggestion is tunicates if you find some.

 

Sounds like a nice theory. Is your coldwater tank skimmerless nem fan? Personally, I would not rely on mussels or tunicates to keep my temperate tank clean.

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Sounds like a nice theory. Is your coldwater tank skimmerless nem fan? Personally, I would not rely on mussels or tunicates to keep my temperate tank clean.

 

Yeah, I do water changes too, but they seem to keep the proteins down. I haven't update any of my tanks in a while, lots of stuff has changed since. In particular addition of many anemones and fish to the temperate along with a load of mussels, removal of my clowns and anemones from my 20L, and addition of a goby to my 5.5, not to mention an upgrade to T5 in my FW.

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I'll probably incorporate larger mussels into the system but only as a food source for the ochre stars. There are quite a few small clusters of mussels and boring clams in the rocks I collected already, I'm going to see how those do before I put any larger ones in.

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Ok.

 

Complete Craziness, I know.

 

I'm breaking down and selling my 50 gallon coldwater cube. The 110 will still be up and running though.

 

I got to see Steve Weasts tank the other day in person and I was awe-struck.

 

I got a few ideas, and I'm working out my budget, its not going to be as awesome as Steves, but it will still be awesome.

 

Stay tuned B)

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Not sure if this has been mentioned yet cause I did not feel like reading 7 pages, but do you think that those copper lines on the cooling system are going to cause a problem in the long run ? I am not sure if the copper is going to degrade into the tank and kill your inverts over time.

 

Beautiful tanks and inverts btw, absolutley stunning !

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Not sure if this has been mentioned yet cause I did not feel like reading 7 pages, but do you think that those copper lines on the cooling system are going to cause a problem in the long run ? I am not sure if the copper is going to degrade into the tank and kill your inverts over time.

 

None of the copper is actually in contact with the water in the system. All the coolant coils are completely sealed where they come in contact with the tank water.

 

Beautiful tanks and inverts btw, absolutley stunning !

 

Thanks :D Hopefully the new tank idea I have will draw more attention to the animals in the tank and less to the tank setup itself.

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All that hard work and now you're breaking it down! Arg! What about the seagrass DT? What about the continuous feeder?

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All that hard work and now you're breaking it down! Arg! What about the seagrass DT? What about the continuous feeder?

 

The feeder is going onto the tank I'm gonna build and put inside, it will all be plumbed into the 110 gallon. The seagrass tank will probably be plumbed off of the 110 out in the garage. Its only 3/8 acrylic so I'm sure it's going to sweat quite a bit in the summer. Hopefully I'll be able to replace it with a 3/4 or 1 inch tank soon.

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Stopped by a local seafood market today that carrys coldwater snails so I could buy some more for food to feed the ochre stars. They had smaller abalone there and a 6" unknown rockfish, of course I couldn't help myself so I had to get em.

 

Paid a total of $12.78 for the rockfish, a half pound of snails (like 30+) and a 4" abalone, pretty sweet day.

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Paid a total of $12.78 for the rockfish, a half pound of snails (like 30+) and a 4" abalone, pretty sweet day.

Buying livestock by the pound sure is cheaper than going to the LFS, and a lot easier than getting wet and catching your own. I'll be interested to hear about what you feed the abalone. I'm assuming that the algae in your tank can't grow fast enough to keep him fed. Will they eat nori?

 

Great find! Thanks for sharing.

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Wow, really enjoyed seeing the pics of all your new livestock.

So cool.

What kind of feeding regimen do you have for the Gorgs and Anemones?

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The feeder is going onto the tank I'm gonna build and put inside, it will all be plumbed into the 110 gallon. The seagrass tank will probably be plumbed off of the 110 out in the garage.

 

I'm a little confused. What tanks are you planning? It sounds like you're planning to pump water from the 110 marineland system in the garage through an acrylic tank in the house. Would that mean that the tank in the house would be supported by the chiller and filtration system of the 110 in the garage? That would be a silent, and easy way to go if the 110 can handle the extra bioload and heat. Please describe what you have in mind, it sounds interesting. Is the "seagrass tank" the 110 or the one in the house, or is it a third tank?

 

Its only 3/8 acrylic so I'm sure it's going to sweat quite a bit in the summer. Hopefully I'll be able to replace it with a 3/4 or 1 inch tank soon.

I've learned a lot about insulating a cold tank, and I can probably save you some trouble. While 3/4" or 1" acrylic would be ideal (unless it can be scratched by a mollusk's radula (?)) such tanks are typically custom made, and cost a fortune. If you can't afford a thick acrylic tank, consider making a regular tank into a double paned tank. I used 2" thick 3M Styrofoam (available in 4' x 8' sheets) to insulate the bottom, back, and one side of my tank, and then added a 2nd pane of glass to the front and remaining side. It's not that hard to do, but there are a few tricks. Let me know if you are interested and I'll start a DIY thread about adding a second pane, and insulating a tank in general

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Buying livestock by the pound sure is cheaper than going to the LFS, and a lot easier than getting wet and catching your own. I'll be interested to hear about what you feed the abalone. I'm assuming that the algae in your tank can't grow fast enough to keep him fed. Will they eat nori?

 

Great find! Thanks for sharing.

Thats what I'm hoping for, I also have some weird soft alagae stuff that came with my bucket of Instant ocean salt I'm going to try out. Worst case, I'm going to put him into the seagrass tank as the only algae eater since that is only tank that gets any light.

 

Wow, really enjoyed seeing the pics of all your new livestock.

So cool.

What kind of feeding regimen do you have for the Gorgs and Anemones?

Right now I'm still spot feeding everything every other day. Doing a cube of plankton, a cube of mysis, and bay scallops. Gotta re arrange the tank setups so I can get the auto feeder onto the 110.

 

 

I'm a little confused. What tanks are you planning? It sounds like you're planning to pump water from the 110 marineland system in the garage through an acrylic tank in the house. ? Would that mean that the tank in the house would be supported by the chiller and filtration system of the 110 in the garage? That would be a silent, and easy way to go if the 110 can handle the extra bioload and heat. Please describe what you have in mind, it sounds interesting. Is the "seagrass tank" the 110 or the one in the house, or is it a third tank?

 

What you described is exactly what I'm trying to do :) As it is right now the 110 is a beast. The chiller rarely turns on, and the fitration is awesome. I would like to up the size of the skimmer and add ozone to the mix but it gets the job done for now. I'd like to setup a very well insulated display tank inside where the only thing coming in and out of the house would be the drain and return lines. On one of those lines I will hook the auto feeder into so that it will feed the display tank and I can keep the majority of the nems, gorgs, etc in there.

 

The seagrass tank currently shares a sump with my 50 gallon cube. Its only about 10-15 gallons and is made of 3/8 acrylic so I think thats where the majority of my temp fluctuation is coming from. The 50 cubes chiller I've come to find out just cant handle the increased water volume from the sump and the seagrass tank so it has been fluctuating up to 65 at times. So I'm going to break it down and sell it someone who would be happy with a smaller coldwater setup. I'm sure the seagrass tank will get plumbed into the new setup.

 

I've learned a lot about insulating a cold tank, and I can probably save you some trouble. While 3/4" or 1" acrylic would be ideal (unless it can be scratched by a mollusk's radula (?)) such tanks are typically custom made, and cost a fortune. If you can't afford a thick acrylic tank, consider making a regular tank into a double paned tank. I used 2" thick 3M Styrofoam (available in 4' x 8' sheets) to insulate the bottom, back, and one side of my tank, and then added a 2nd pane of glass to the front and remaining side. It's not that hard to do, but there are a few tricks. Let me know if you are interested and I'll start a DIY thread about adding a second pane, and insulating a tank in general

 

I am definately interested in learning how to put together a double paned tank. I've read through a few threads on other peoples double paned tanks and I had thought about using 1/2 inch or 3/8 acrylic and making a double paned tank with that as opposed to glass. I was debating on experimenting with this on the seagrass tank.

 

The more I look at the price of acrylic, the more I start to think that I cant afford a 3/4 or 1 inch tank :( At best I might be able to pull off a 24x24x24 cube, which would be a good start.

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I got a quote from a guy on ebay for a 3/4 thick acrylic tank 24x24x16 shipped for $450 think I can build it myself for cheaper?

 

The waterproof LED setup I made on the cube turned out to not be so waterproof :( It fried a connection so I'm going to rethink that setup completely.

 

I may even put the cube tank up for sale soon.

 

I'm going to replumb the closed loop on it so I can move the auto feeder onto the 110 gallon, and I'll see if I need to recharge the r134a in the chiller. It has been having some weird temp fluctuations recently like the chiller is not working up to par. I'm going to tear into it tomorrow on my day off and see what I can do.

 

I moved all the inhabitants of the small seagrass tank into the cube the other day and turned off the flow to the seagrass tank thinking that was where I was having the temperature flux from since it is only 3/8 acrylic.

 

So I think I am going to make the cube into a seagrass/tidepool tank for the time being and get a small pendant light to hang over it. I like the look of it open topped more anyways 8) I can keep all my snails and my abalone in there for any algae that may occur and it'll be completely seperate from the main 110 gallon system.

 

Oh yeah, and the reason I started this post was because I got a new set of "waterproof" ( we'll see...) LED spot lights to try on the 110 gallon tank. Gonna wire those up tomorrow and give em a test run on the big tank so I can quit using my flashlight to see in there, lol.

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FYI: The seller says it's an 80 gallon tank. That's based on the external dimensions. Based on the inside dimensions, and leaving 3/4" at the top, it'll only hold 63 gallons of water. (231 cu in per gallon)

 

It's too bad that it's only 16" tall, but if you think it would work for you, make the offer. This guy is an eBay store, that does custom acrylic jobs to customer specs, so that's probably a picture of a tank he built and sold a long time ago, and he'll build yours that size if you order it. It can't hurt to low ball him, but if he doesn't go for it, then maybe ask him for a price on a tank built to your specs. Just remember that acrylic comes in sheets that are 48" x 96", so your tank will be cheaper if you design it to come out of an 1, 1.5, or 2 such sheets, without much scrap.

 

Here's another possible money saver. If you talk to the guy, or anybody that makes custom acrylic tanks, see if they would be willing to build you one with 1" thick walls, but make the floor out of 3/8" thick acrylic, which is much cheaper. You can put the tank on top of a 2" thick piece of 3M Styrofoam insulation, so there's no need to pay big money for thick acrylic to insulate the bottom, and since normal acrylic tanks are made of 3/8" acrylic, we know that it's strong enough. You could also use 3/8 for the top euro bracing, although 1" thick walls may not need any bracing. Once you get a tank builder comfortable thinking outside the box like that, he might be willing to do the work, get just as much profit for himself, but pass the materials savings on to you. Heck, you really only need the front, and maybe the sides, to be 1" thick, and you can insulate the back, bottom, and maybe the sides with Styrofoam, like I did on my glass tank (the front and one side have double panes). That might bring the cost of a custom tank within reach.

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FYI: The seller says it's an 80 gallon tank. That's based on the external dimensions. Based on the inside dimensions, and leaving 3/4" at the top, it'll only hold 63 gallons of water. (231 cu in per gallon)

That same guy quoted me $450 shipped for a 24x24x16 made out of 3/4, but I dont think that is going to be big enough now

 

Just remember that acrylic comes in sheets that are 48" x 96", so your tank will be cheaper if you design it to come out of an 1, 1.5, or 2 such sheets, without much scrap.

I was thinking about that and I am now looking at doing a tank that measures 48"x24"x24" so I can use a full sheet to make the tank.

 

....If you talk to the guy, or anybody that makes custom acrylic tanks, see if they would be willing to build you one with 1" thick walls, but make the floor out of 3/8" thick acrylic, which is much cheaper. ...... Heck, you really only need the front, and maybe the sides, to be 1" thick, and you can insulate the back, bottom, and maybe the sides with Styrofoam, like I did on my glass tank (the front and one side have double panes). That might bring the cost of a custom tank within reach.

 

Now that is a brilliant idea!! Realistically my tank might only have 2 sides viewable, maybe just the front if I go bigger. If that is the case I could probably get away with just the front panel being 1" and the other sides 3/8 with foam. Gonna have to start talking to some people about that..

 

I would also really like to be able to view it from the top like a touch tank, so shorter sides may be okay. Or maybe just a shorter stand.

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I added a 2nd pane of glass to the front and the side of my glass tank, and insulated the bottom, back, and other side with 1.5" Styrofoam panels upholstered in black vinyl. Not only was it cheap to do, but it insulates much better than 1" acrylic, so my chiller can be smaller (cheaper), and I use a lot less electricity. The R-value (resistance to transmitting heat) for 1" thick acrylic is about 0.72, while the R-Value of dual pane glass is about 2.0, and the R-Value of the insulated sides is about 7.5. Only a fraction of the heat per hour that would leak into a 1" acrylic tank will get into my tank (I estimate that only about 20% as much gets through per hour).

 

1" acrylic will prevent condensation (probably), but it is very expensive, and it doesn't save cooling costs like a 2nd pane does. On the other hand, you have to do some work to add a 2nd pane, and the end result probably won't look quite as perfect as a professionally made 1" thick acrylic tank, but it can look really good. The other issue is the risk of doing it wrong, and having to deal with it fogging up, falling off, or having dust trapped inside. I can tell you how to avoid some of those traps, but I haven't worked out all the kinks yet, so there's still a risk.

 

ePlastics.com sells 1/2" square acrylic solid rods, and 1/2" square hollow acrylic tubes, either of which could be glued around the top and bottom of a stock acrylic aquarium to act as spacers. Enough square tube to do the front and sides of a 90 gallon 48x18x24 tank would cost $15. Then you could buy 1/4" acrylic sheets, glue them to the square spacers, and have a 1/2" air space. Enough 1/4" acrylic to do the job will cost $111. Then insulate the bottom and back with 1" styrofoam sheets (covered in attractive black vinyl) and you've got an insulated tank for about $150, plus the cost of a standard 90 gallon acrylic tank (which I've seen used for $100). If you can do it all so that it's perfectly air tight, you're done. Even if it fogs up, there's a trick I've used where you seep dry clean air from a scuba tank into the air space, and out an exhaust hole, to dry it out, and to find the leak (with kids bubble soap), then seal the leak, and the holes you made. I think that for a capable DIY guy like you, making a double pane tank is the way to go, unless you've got money to burn. :)

 

I don't know how much you will be able to sell your 50 gallon tank for, but if it need a freon charge, maybe there's not much profit in it. given that the acrylic tank on Ebay for $1000 is really on 62 gallons, have you considered yanking the insulated 50 gallon tank off of your small Marineland unit and just putting it in your house?

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I added a 2nd pane of glass to the front and the side of my glass tank, and insulated the bottom, back, and other side with 1.5" Styrofoam panels upholstered in black vinyl. Not only was it cheap to do, but it insulates much better than 1" acrylic, so my chiller can be smaller (cheaper), and I use a lot less electricity. The R-value (resistance to transmitting heat) for 1" thick acrylic is about 0.72, while the R-Value of dual pane glass is about 2.0, and the R-Value of the insulated sides is about 7.5. Only a fraction of the heat per hour that would leak into a 1" acrylic tank will get into my tank (I estimate that only about 20% as much gets through per hour).

That is really good information, thanks for the heads up. I actually had it kind of the other way around. :huh:

 

1" acrylic will prevent condensation (probably), but it is very expensive, and it doesn't save cooling costs like a 2nd pane does. On the other hand, you have to do some work to add a 2nd pane, and the end result probably won't look quite as perfect as a professionally made 1" thick acrylic tank, but it can look really good. The other issue is the risk of doing it wrong, and having to deal with it fogging up, falling off, or having dust trapped inside. I can tell you how to avoid some of those traps, but I haven't worked out all the kinks yet, so there's still a risk.

Yeah the price has been a bit of a deterant so far :o But I wont let it stop me :D I am all for saving a buck though and making it a DIY project instead of a cash out of pocket project could end up much better. I think I will try the double paned acrylic cocept on the old seagrass tank and see how it works out and start keeping my eye out for used acrylic tanks that I can buff out and insulate and add the second pane to the front.

 

ePlastics.com sells 1/2" square acrylic solid rods, and 1/2" square hollow acrylic tubes, either of which could be glued around the top and bottom of a stock acrylic aquarium to act as spacers. Enough square tube to do the front and sides of a 90 gallon 48x18x24 tank would cost $15. Then you could buy 1/4" acrylic sheets, glue them to the square spacers, and have a 1/2" air space. Enough 1/4" acrylic to do the job will cost $111. Then insulate the bottom and back with 1" styrofoam sheets (covered in attractive black vinyl) and you've got an insulated tank for about $150, plus the cost of a standard 90 gallon acrylic tank (which I've seen used for $100). If you can do it all so that it's perfectly air tight, you're done. Even if it fogs up, there's a trick I've used where you seep dry clean air from a scuba tank into the air space, and out an exhaust hole, to dry it out, and to find the leak (with kids bubble soap), then seal the leak, and the holes you made. I think that for a capable DIY guy like you, making a double pane tank is the way to go, unless you've got money to burn. :)

 

Thats what I was thinking for doing the second pane on the front, I could make a completely air tight seal by bonding the second acrylic pane onto the tank and puting in some small air valves that into the seam that I could fill and remove air from. I figure if you can easily make an acrylic tank water tight, air tight should be just as easy.....in theory :lol:

 

I don't know how much you will be able to sell your 50 gallon tank for, but if it need a freon charge, maybe there's not much profit in it. given that the acrylic tank on Ebay for $1000 is really on 62 gallons, have you considered yanking the insulated 50 gallon tank off of your small Marineland unit and just putting it in your house?

I thought about moving the whole setup inside but there are a couple things that have deterred me. Its not like a normal tank where you can remove it from the stand, its build into the stand and has a fiberglass bottom resivoir that extends below the viewable bottom of the tank. Its still just a little too noisy to have in the same room with the TV, especially when the chiller comes on. Also, for as cool as it is by itself, I want to have something more presentable inside. I have one person who owns a seafood store that is interested in it and I told him $250. So we will see what happens of that. I also found a guy who does refridgerator repair and is willing to refill the r134a on the chillers for me. He took a look at it and it only uses like 10oz or something so not very much, and they have ports on them to service them like any other commercial cooling unit. I could use 1 can of the r134a for a car and it would be way more than enough considering that most car AC systems deal in lbs not oz.

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Finally got the LED's setup on the 110 gallon. I wired up 8 single waterproof LED spotlights and attached them to the 2 lids on the tank with velcro tabs so I can move em around individually. I decided on this look for lighting after spending so much time looking at my tank with an LED flashlight. It's a really neat effect, it gives you the shimmer of single point light but with lots of lower light voids in between and shadows from the gorgonians. Didn't have a whole lot of time to play with it tonight but got it working and on there.

 

I'll post up a video tomorrow night since pictures don't do it justice.

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Thought this was a nice bit to add. When I purchased the tank it had this god awful ugly florescent strip light attached to the front of the tank so it would cast light back into the tank to better show off animals for food. Well I ripped that thing off and cleaned up the front but it left a hole in the front lower part of the stainless where the power cord for the light went into the stand.

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Now that I have my LED setup figured out, I can wire everything up down the back side of the tank and through the stand and use that hole that is already there for a waterproof push buttom switch for the lights B) I thought I would share since I sprang out of bed at 5 am when I thought about it to make sure the hole was big enough for it to work. LOL.

Edited by AquaticEngineer

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