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350 gal dream tank - comments please

Discussion in 'Marine Equipment, Products, & DIY' started by bjg, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. bjg

    bjg AC Members

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    Yep…a 350 gallon marine tank :thud: . I’ve had a number of tanks through the years including a 55 gallon specimen tank that was home to a beautiful Volitan Lion. When I got him, he was just over 4” across from spine to spine and two years later he was nearly 1 ft across and still going strong (though his tank was getting a little small for him). I also had a 90 gallon community tank for a little over a year. I sold both tanks to a friend when I moved across country and haven’t had a tank set up in over 2 years. Finally, I’m at a point in my life where I have the room and the cash (not as much as I’d like, but enough) to set up my dream tank. Now to decide on just what would be my “dream” setup….

    If you folks don’t mind, I’d love a little constructive criticism of my plans for the 350 while I still have time to change things.

    I’m building the tank using a design based off the plans found on Garf’s website (scaled up a bit of course). (http://www.garf.org/140.gallon.html) I’m using a 3’ x 8’ by ½” thick sheet of glass for the front glass. I priced the glass already and it was not as bad as I expected at $250. The overall dimensions of the tank will be 8’ x 3’ x 2’. The sump will be built in the same way as the aquarium using the back wall of the aquarium as one of the sump walls. The overflow will be a series of slots cut into the back of the main tank wall with a sloped channel to direct the water into one location in the sump. The slots will be covered with a plastic screen to keep tank inhabitants from leaving the tank. I plan to run the tank overflow through 2” thick sponge filters on the way into the sump. The main filter will be a large protein skimmer. I’m leaning towards the VS3-36 from Lifereef at this point (http://www.lifereef.com/lgVS3-36.JPG) It has some nice features (including the ability to self clean the venturi if it should get clogged) and the model I want comes with a Little Giant 4MDQX-SC pump which gives it about 1200-1500 gph (I’m trying to target a turnover rate of at least 4x/hr for this tank). I’m also putting a pair of DIY Coil De-Nitrators that pull and return to the sump using a single Rio power head. My DN’s will be using 4” diameter 24” tall towers with ¼” tubing inside and filled with 1” bioballs. The basic plans can be found at this website (http://saltaquarium.about.com/library/blank/bldondiydenitratornew.htm). I’d love some advice on how to set up the sump baffles if anyone has any thoughts on this.

    I’m debating on what to use for a return pump. I had originally though I would use a single 4MDQX-SC pump, but now I’m leaning towards having two 2-MDQX-SC pumps that would return to opposite sides of the tank. The two together have a slightly higher flow rate than the 4MDQX-SC (about 1280gph@3ft head as opposed to 1225@3ft head). Since my sump will be built on the back of the main tanks, I should only have about 2-3 feet of head. My tank is going to start as fish only with the hope that I can add some SPS corals later.

    For structure in the tank, I’m trying to replicate a Marine reef using foam and concrete. There is a very cool website that explains the process and it seems fairly simple. Anyway, here is the link; (http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_aquarium_background.php ). My plan is to build in spots for the real coral pieces to be added later. My substrate will be a nice fine sand about 2-3” deep. I was going to use crushed coral, but changed my mind based on the advice given here on AC.

    On to lighting…This is the biggest heartache of my whole project. I would love to do all my lighting in Metal Halide, but I just can’t justify the expense at this point with my tank being FO for at least a year. I simply could not believe how expensive tank lighting has gotten. :mad2: Ok, enough crying for now. I’m going to do a pair of 48” HO fluorescent pendant fixtures (two bulbs each) suspended above the tank. I found a site that sells Osram or Phillips F48T12 High Output bulbs for about $7.50 each. These bulbs have a color rating of 5000K with a CRI of 90-92 at about 2800-3000 Lumens. I know this will be ok for FO, but I’m not sure if it’s good enough for live corals. I was thinking of using eggcrate as tank lid to let in enough light but still keep any would be jumpers in.

    The tank itself will be built into a wall in my finished basement. The equipment side of the wall is the back side of my workshop so the business end of the tank will have easy access and all equipment will be hidden away from the viewing side of the tank. The basement stays cool (about 68 degrees) all year long which brings me to the heating of my tank. I’m definitely going to have a submersible heater (or three) in my sump (probably a visitherm deluxe), but at the moment, I am working with a radiant floor heating company to determine if it would be possible to heat the tank externally from the bottom. Since the bottom of the tank is ¾” plywood, it seems like it should be possible. Based on how well that goes, will determine how many heater watts I’ll need in the tank. During my research, I’ve also seen a number of low voltage substrate heaters that seem like they would do the job, but I’m worried about what happens if the substrate heater fails. I’d hate to have to dig up the substrate to remove and replace the heater. Anyone have experience with substrate heating?

    For the moment, I’m tied up in a project building a captain’s bed for my daughter. It has stairs, lots of drawers, and lots of shelves, so that will keep me busy for another couple of weeks or so (maybe a month….momma always has a few extra projects for me to do along the way :D ). Anyway, after that I plan to start construction. Please feel free to comment on any or all of my design plans. I’ve been out of touch with the hobby for a few years and have been trying hard to come up to speed again, but reading stuff only goes so far.

    Thanks for reading this!
     
  2. DansMarineTank

    DansMarineTank This ship is England!

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    what are you goning to stock the tank with?
     
  3. bjg

    bjg AC Members

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    It will be a community tank (with inverts to help keep it clean). I haven't finalized the selections yet, but there will be Angel(s), Anthias, Pseudochromis, Damsels, Gobies, and maybe a tang or two. I've been trying to plan for fish that are invert friendly.

    Thanks for your interest, but I obviously went about this post wrong....I was trying to get some feedback on my setup plans...mainly on the hardware. That isnt your fault though ....live and learn.
     
  4. esseginz-2

    esseginz-2 AC Members

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    constructive criticism of your plans for the 350 gall tank.Let me think. hmmmmmmm
    I can not think strait right now,because I am so JEALOUS about your idea.
    That is also my dream.Biiig 350 marine tank.I wish you luck.
    PS:please post pictures from the beginning.

     
  5. Germanman

    Germanman My fish are my babies

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    are u gona use live rock? sounds like you arnt but i might have read past it lol...kinda long post so i might have missed it.:eek:
     
  6. SaltTinker

    SaltTinker AC Members

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    Stay away from the Little Giant pumps. I've gone through 4, before going with MAGs.

    I've had the LG 2 and LG 3's.

    Have your return lines plumbed with PVC and not vinyl, your flow will increase! And have as few elbows and tees on the return as you can.

    SaltTinker
     
  7. spiko181

    spiko181 Registered Member

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    Little Giant Pump

    I have a Little Giant MDSC 3 ,and it has been running now for 5 years continuously, and I havent had any problems with it.
     
  8. legendaryfrog

    legendaryfrog Tactical Refreshment Action

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    your light's kelvin rating is too low for SW tanks. Saltwater tanks generally have lights which have high kelvin (ie 10000+). high kelvin lights are more blue, unlike 5000k which is yellow-red.
     

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