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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
DIY "monster" project!

i've made something i wish to make in the near future. before the end of spring, or summer.



the design is simple. but i'm just asking the pros to help me build this since i have no experience making my own things.

i'm definitely going to make the tanks with drilled holes on the side for fish passageway. but i'm not sure on the size. although i want it big enough for 3 bettas(just an example) or a full grown pleco to freely swim through without any problems.
the design of the tank is not going to change, although the size of the tanks used might. since i already have a 20g tall, i'll purchase another one off CL, then decide what the middle tank size will be.

the stand might be DIY but i'm entirely not sure, since i've never attempted to build a stand to hold 3 fish tanks. or don't know how much wood(not sure what kind is used) it would take to support 3 tanks worth of gallons. anyone care to help me in this part?

the "canisters" are pretty much the place where i want my sump tanks, or DIY bucket sumps.

here is where i need more of your help. i'd like equal filtration within the 3 tanks. but i don't want to have 3 separate tanks(sumps) or buckets(DIY sumps). and i highly doubt i'll be able to find a 55g tank on CL(i have bad luck. been searching for a cheap one for a month now).
i'm not sure what kind of pvc piping will allow this to be done. so i'm asking you guys!

since i have no job(for now) i'll scurry and get one, to fund this project. but as of right now, i have roughly 200$ to dedicate to this project. so help me find the cheapest way available to make this happen!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Re: DIY "monster" project!

Dimensions of all 3 tanks:
  • 20g length = 16 inches.
  • 20g width = 24 inches.
  • 20g height = 12 inches.
  • 15g length = 12 inches.
  • 15g width = 24 inches.
  • 15g height = 12 inches.
 

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Hello korweabo0,

Interesting setup you are creating. After reading your recent post I see why you are connecting them. If I were you I would draw the 15/30 gal tank the same height as the 20 gal tanks for clarity. Without the dimensions I was wondering how you would pull this off.

Water weighs 8.35 lbs/gal so:

20+20+15=55 gals * 8.35 = 459 lbs + gravel, decorations, etc...
and
20+20+30=70 gals * 8.35 = 584.5 lbs + gravel, decorations, etc...

I don't know how much help I can be on the stand but if I was building one for this setup I would definitely go with at least 2x4's for legs and 1/2" - 3/4" piece of wood on top depending on what you are using (plywood or pine or ???). You wnat to brace the legs at the top and bottom for best results. Someone else may help better with the stand design.

I have never connected fish tanks together with pvc but have connected 55 gal barrels and 275 gal water totes together for pond filtration using 3" and 4" electrical connections like shown here in post #2

Birdman's Fluid Bed Filter - Koiphen.com

You can use the male adapter on the inside of the tank and cut off the "slip" portion that fits PVC pipe like in the link above. The male and female electrical connectors screw all the way together unlike standard pvc fittings and I used this to seal them

PL Sealants & Adhesives

This product is black in color so clean with mineral spirits and use gloves for easy cleanup.

If you want the passways a certain color you can paint them with Krylon Fusion spray paint which I believe is fish safe.

The connectors are @ $5 each

Are your tanks glass or acrylic?

Do you already have 3 canister filters?

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Hello korweabo0,

Interesting setup you are creating. After reading your recent post I see why you are connecting them. If I were you I would draw the 15/30 gal tank the same height as the 20 gal tanks for clarity. Without the dimensions I was wondering how you would pull this off.

Water weighs 8.35 lbs/gal so:

20+20+15=55 gals * 8.35 = 459 lbs + gravel, decorations, etc...
and
20+20+30=70 gals * 8.35 = 584.5 lbs + gravel, decorations, etc...

I don't know how much help I can be on the stand but if I was building one for this setup I would definitely go with at least 2x4's for legs and 1/2" - 3/4" piece of wood on top depending on what you are using (plywood or pine or ???). You wnat to brace the legs at the top and bottom for best results. Someone else may help better with the stand design.

I have never connected fish tanks together with pvc but have connected 55 gal barrels and 275 gal water totes together for pond filtration using 3" and 4" electrical connections like shown here in post #2

Birdman's Fluid Bed Filter - Koiphen.com

The electrical connectors screw all the way together unlike standard pvc fittings and I used this to seal them

PL Sealants & Adhesives

This product is black in color so clean with mineral spirits and use gloves for easy cleanup.

If you want them a certain color you can paint them with Krylon Fusion spray paint which I believe is fish safe.

Are your tanks glass or acrylic?

I recently made a pvc overflow and a sump and it works great. I used a 2" PVC standpipe with slots at the top no lower than the level of water that would fit in my sump. The 1" pvc pipe then went inside near the bottom of this. Had a little trouble with noise at first but added a ball valve before the sump and cut it back a little at a time until the overflow into the pipe got quiet. Working great for the last month or so.

I don't have any diagrams now but aspects will post some good ones I am sure.

Remember to calculate how much water is in each inch of all your tanks to determine the size of the sump and the depth of the overflow inlet so during a power outage you don't have a flood.

Hope this helps.
would a 30g long be taller than my 20g tall?

for the stand, i was hoping to make a compartment with a door or two so i could hide my sump(s).

my tank is glass, and i will buy the next two tanks as glass too.

also, aspects said he would provide me with some of his overflow diagrams, those who've survived his "power outage test" - i'm awaiting his post.

thank you so much for your input!!
 

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I don't know the dimensions on the tanks but make sure they are the same height.

I just worry about the tanks shifting and the glass breaking at the connections. Maybe someone will have something to say about this. You may have to hold each tank in place with wood trim around the base or countersink them individually into the stand so they will not move relative to one another.

I edited my post not realizing you asked about the sump in another thread.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Do you already have 3 canister filters?
no but i'll buy 3 bio-wheel 350's and have them running alongside the 10g sump i hope to build for more mechanical filtration. i could get them relatively cheap.

I don't know the dimensions on the tanks but make sure they are the same height.

I just worry about the tanks shifting and the glass breaking at the connections. Maybe someone will have something to say about this. You may have to hold each tank in place with wood trim around the base or countersink them individually into the stand so they will not move relative to one another.
does the tanks height cause a problem when building an overflow box? - the only reason i wanted the middle tank to be bigger or smaller, was for an artsy look. if it'll cause a problem, i might have to change the design of the entire tank set-up except for where i want to place my sump tank.

here look at this:

that's what i hope to go for, but with 3 tanks, since i wanted that artsy look. i understand your concern, but if this tank didn't break(i've seen some in stores, and know a person who owns one) i'm sure a custom tank with a similar look will. especially when being helped by people like you!

edit: okay i've thought of something.

i could buy 3 bio-wheel 350 HOB filters, and have my 10g sump i hope to build connected to the middle tank with a strong return pump, overflow box and perhaps a 10x turnover rate. will the side tanks(20g's) get good, if not decent filtration(disregarding the HOB filters i'll be placing there)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
okay. now i understand why i need the tanks to be the same height.
water overflow.

what tank has the same length as a 20g?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i might actually drill some overflow holes onto the tanks when i get them. so i wont have so much tubing showing.

should i get 3 bio-wheel 350's for more mechanical filtration?
 

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however many penguin350s you were planning to get (3?), replace them with AC70s instead. they are better filters in every single way, and you will never have to buy an expensive replacement cartridge.

overflow diagram:



overflow explaination:



flowrate for pipe sizes:

size _GPM __GPH
1/2 = 2.50 = 150
3/4 = 5.63 = 337.5
1.0 = 10.0 = 600
1.25=15.6 = 937.5
1.5 = 22.5 = 1350
2.0 = 40.0 = 2400


example of a finished overflow:




(in these pics, the check valve was not yet installed, but as seen in the diagram above, it is a vital part of the system. you can not run one without it. )
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
however many penguin350s you were planning to get (3?), replace them with AC70s instead. they are better filters in every single way, and you will never have to buy an expensive replacement cartridge.

*pictures*
okay. thanks.

and thank you for the diagrams. all i need now is to figure out how to make the water going from all 3 tanks go into the 10g tank without overflowing.
 

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you want your sump to be apx. 1/4-1/3 the size of your display. so depending on the total volume of the 3 tanks, a 10g sump, may not be big enough. if you cant get ahold of another larger tank, you can also use a large plastic rubbermaid tub. (20-25g tub would be fine and cheap too)

you can make 2 overflows (one for each of the outside tanks) and make the return (spraybar?) go to the middle tank. you can either run both of the overflows to one larger pipe, or just have 2 pipes going to your sump. either way will work fine.

if your overflows are built as directed in the diagram, and your sump/ overflows/ return pump are appropriately sized, you will not have to worry about either the sump or the tank overflowing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
you want your sump to be apx. 1/4-1/3 the size of your display. so depending on the total volume of the 3 tanks, a 10g sump, may not be big enough. if you cant get ahold of another larger tank, you can also use a large plastic rubbermaid tub. (20-25g tub would be fine and cheap too)

you can make 2 overflows (one for each of the outside tanks) and make the return (spraybar?) go to the middle tank. you can either run both of the overflows to one larger pipe, or just have 2 pipes going to your sump. either way will work fine.

if your overflows are built as directed in the diagram, and your sump/ overflows/ return pump are appropriately sized, you will not have to worry about either the sump or the tank overflowing.

your idea sounds really good. and how does a 15g tank sound for a sump? is that too small?

also, for my middle tank, i've decided to go with a 30g. since i looked up the dimensions and it seems a 30g tall(i think) is 16 3/4's(length) like my 20g is. so i don't have to worry about my water overflowing.

all i need is to decide on an overflow type(drilled or pvc) and go on from there!
 

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again, it depends on the total volume of the 3 tanks above. your first drawing shows either a 15g or 30g. that will make a difference.
i usually go for 1/3 of the display volume, but 1/4 of the display volume will be fine.
the size will not only increase the volume of your water column (helping to stabilize your water parameters), but will ensure your sump does not overflow during backfill (when the pump is turned off)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
again, it depends on the total volume of the 3 tanks above. your first drawing shows either a 15g or 30g. that will make a difference.
i usually go for 1/3 of the display volume, but 1/4 of the display volume will be fine.
the size will not only increase the volume of your water column (helping to stabilize your water parameters), but will ensure your sump does not overflow during backfill (when the pump is turned off)


i've decided to go with:

20g tall, 30g(no idea if it's the tall or long that has a length of 16 3/4's) followed by a 20g tall.

i'll change the image here in a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
you should shoot for a 20g sump
and that i will. guess i'll use my 10g for a quarantine/fry tank. or perhaps just sell it, haha.

edit: now that i've decided on getting a 30g for my middle tank and a 20g for a sump. i need to decide on an overflow method. since i plan on drilling my tanks(not myself - i'll go to my local hardware store) i guess i should just drill myself some overflow holes. do you have any experience with this, or know how it works? like if it work the same way - or would i need to try a different type of tubing(the design)
 
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