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Reports From Tim

Tim McGovern (txice at

[Editor's note: Tim initially contacted me with questions on setting up cable heating and prefilters. The dialogue turned into several periodic "reports" as he set up his tank. I've reproduced them here in chronological order to show some of the "process", pitfalls, etc. We join the conversation as Tim is designing an overflow skimmer... -- Erik]

Different Idea for Prefilter

by "txice" <txice/>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999
To: erik/

Hi Erik,

This is Tim.

Anyway, after studying your plans and the extra drawings you sent me, I began to get an idea. I think my high school physics lessons are serving me correctly in my thinking here, but I wanted to run this idea past you and get your opinion.

Your design for the overflow skimmer/prefilter is very good, but I started to try and figure out a design that would siphon water more from the bottom of the fish tank rather than so near the top. What I came up with was modifing a standard siphon tube from a store bought canister filter. I think you know what I mean...the long tube from the intake side of a canister filter (like a fluval or a eheim) that runs up the back of the tank, curves around the top, and goes inside the tank with the intake way down by the bottom of the tank near the gravel. Obviously, in it's factory condition, if the return pump were to loose power, the siphon would continue to run until the water level in the tank went almost all the way down to the bottom where the intake of the siphon was...which would obviously end up overflowing the sump underneath the tank. My idea was to modify the siphon by cutting slots along the diameter of the siphon tube just below the water line in the tank. This way, if the return pump were to loose power, and the siphon continued to run, once the water level got below the slots in the siphon tube, the siphon would draw air, and break the siphon, thus preventing the sump below from overflowing. The whole idea behind trying something like this is to be able to draw water from near the bottom of the tank and catch debris floating near the bottom as opposed to simply drawing water from the top of the tank. Am I making any sense here? I made a very quick and very crude sketch of what I'm talking about. Hopefully it will help clearify what I tried to describe above. But the sketch is very very basic (I didn't have alot of time to draw it up).

Anyway, I was hoping to get your opinion of this. Sound like a good idea to try? Or do I sound like a rambling idiot?

Different Idea for Prefilter

From Erik Olson
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999
To: Tim D McGovern

I think I understand what you're talking about (though I didn't see your drawings as an attachment or anything); it's exactly what I use in the returns on my tank. The returns dip very far down into the tank, one all the way to the bottom (in order to stir up detritus so it will touch the surface and get sucked into the skimmer... sort of the opposite of your idea! :). In order to avoid backsiphoning the whole tank onto the floor during outages, I used to drill some small holes near the water level.

Two problems with this. First, just as a return, the little holes can plug with algae, or the backsiphon force can be strong enough to suck the small air bubbles down with the rest of the water, i.e. it's just not strong enough to break the siphon. I am now using a check valve with a floating ball to handle this problem.

Second, this can't be used as an overflow because you need something to actually *regulate* the flow at the water level, not break the sipon. Consider this: what happens if your pump in the sump is too wimpy to return the water fast enough before the tank level drops below the siphon cutoff? Siphon breaks, and water stops flowing down into the sump, and then the pump slowly brings the water back up, but since the siphon is broken, the water overflows out the top of the tank and makes a mess on your floor and burns out the pump when there's no water left in the sump.

I have enclosed another drawing of how you might accomplish this. I've seen assorted variations on the design (the public aquarium around here called it an "external standpipe" approach, and put it on systems that were too delicate to skim. The key is not to break the siphon. Hope it helps.

[Erik's Alternative Bottom Skimmer]

- Erik

Substrate Heating Progress Report

by txice <txice/>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999
To: erik/

Hiya Erik,

After a few days of hunting for parts, speaking with a couple of my EE friends here at work, and so on. I am just about finished with the substrate heating system.

I bought a 12.6V @3 amp transformer from Radio Shack, project box, toggle switch, fuse holder and some other misc. stuff from there also. Got the transformer all wired up and enclosed in the project box. It obviously doesn't look professional, but I am pretty proud of how it turned out. I took some pics with my digital camera...if your interested, I could send them later (I don't have them here at work). The transformer has performed well in tests we've done here at work. The inline fuse works! We took about a 3-4 inch section of 30awg wire and hooked it to the transformer without the fuse. As you could imagine, the 30awg wire almost instantaneously began to glow red and quickly evaporated into a pile of burnt wire dust. When we did the same thing with the fuse inline, the fuse blew out and the transformer went dead...the 30awg wire remained perfectly intact. My EE friends here at work and myself are pleased with the transformer. Any comments?

I labored for many hours cutting plexiglass into small 4 inch by 3/4 inch strips. Two holes were drilled 3 inches apart in each plexiglass strip. Finally, each plexiglass strip had two smaller plexiglass "feet" glued to them. I ended up making around 24 of these. They were layed throughout the tank in 8 rows of 3 spaced evenly across the bottom. I was fairly pleased with this portion of the project as well. The plexiglass wire stands look pretty good (better than a bunch of PVC laying across the bott om of the tank I think). Got pics of this too. They plexiglass stands were siliconed to the bottom of the tank to prevent them from moving. The plexiglass stands end up holding the wire up off the bottom of the tank about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch (just enough to slide a finger underneath the wire. Any comments on this?

Last night I did a "dry run" of the system. I strung the 30awg wire through the holes of the stands (roughly took around 280 inches of wire). The 30awg wire was connected to 18awg wire leads which were plugged into the transformer. I plugged the system in and nothing blew up at least. The 30awg wire was warm to the touch, but it sure didn't seem like it was "overly warm". I am beginning to doubt the wires will produce enough heat to be worth while. I am wanting to put in the gravel/substrate, add water and do some more testing, but I am weary of whether or not I should go with something thicker than 30awg wire to get some more heat. I am also tempted to use a thinner lead wire. The 18awg wire is really thick and not very flexable and basicly a pain in the ass to work with. Perhaps 20-24 awg wire would be better? I also have another concern. I am concerned that the plexiglass stands may have cut the coating of the 30awg wire as I strung the wire through the stands. The 30awg wire is so thin and s mall that by visual inspection of the wire it is very hard to tell wether or not the wire coating is still fully intact. If it's not, would this cause a problem? If the heating cable has bare wire exposed to the water, even though it's a low voltage circut, would it cause a problem? The points where the 30awg wire and the 18 awg wire were connected were covered with heat shrink and then "blobed" with silicone. However, I am also concerned that perhaps there isn't a chance of the bare wire to water here also. Is bare wire to water going to cause any damage? Should I take more precaution in preventing this before I add water to the tank to do some testing?

I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to tell you of my progress thus far and get any comments you may have on what I've reported thus far.


by "txice" <txice/>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999
To: erik/

This was a picture of the 70 gal. tank before I tore it down to start the rebuild. I wasn't able to capture the inside of the tank very well in the picture, but there wasn't much to see anyway except for alot of algea and some dirty rocks and driftwood. The tank was originally bought for my wife. She wanted a tank for Aranda's and promised she would take care of it. Needless to say she didn't. All of the plants died, and so did most of the fish. I didn't have time to care for the tank.

For one, I bought it for her. Two, I don't really like Arandas all that much. Third, I had several other tanks to care for which occupied most of my time. My pride and joy at the time was a 125 gal. reef tank. It is now gone, and I got tired of looking at the 70 gal going to waste. After months of it sitting with little or no care, I told the wife to start taking care of it or I was going to tare it down and build a nice plant tank. Well, needless to say, it is being tore down.


This is a pic of the first stage of the rebuild - the transformer. In this pic I am showing the inside of the transformer. You can see the power cord entering the bottom of the box. Attached to the metal plate is obviously the 12V@3amp transformer. On the left hand side of the box near the bottom, you can see the back side of the inline fuse holder. Directly across from that, on the right hand side near the bottom you can see the on-off toggle switch I put in. I wanted to add this so I had an easy way of turning the system on and off without having to go searching for a cord to unplug. Above that, on the right hand side near the top you can see the red LED. This was simply to provide a visual way to tell if the system was on or off. The two yellow wires going out the top of the box are where the lead wires connect to the transofrmer. What you can't see in the picture are the quick disconnects I put on the outside of the box. I added these so I had an easy way of disconnecting the lea d wires from the transformer in case I needed to move the box and/or the tank.


This is jus a picture of the transformer box after it's all put together. Like I said previously, it's obviously not a professional job, but I was very pleased with the turn out.


This is a shot of the plexiglass wire stands I fashioned. Sorry the pic is kinda fuzzy...I think I moved while taking the picture or something.


This is a pic of the plexiglass stands inside the tank. I carefully measured to make sure the stands were spaced evenly in the tank. Once the stands were in place, I siliconed them to the bottom of the tank to prevent them from moving around.


In this pic, although very hard to see, you can see the 30awg wire strung through the plexiglass stands. This was my second attempt at this. As I told you earlier, I had some fears that when I ran the wire through the stands previously, I was afraid that I might have cut the coating on the wire. So, to ease my mind, I tore out the old wire and ran some new wire. I was very carefull this go around and am pretty confident that the wire coating was unharmed. You can also see the lead wires running up the back and out of the top of the tank. I also replaced the previous 18awg lead wires with a thinner 22awg wire.


I ran another "dry" test after I got all the new wiring snugly in place. This time I also measure the output from the transformer to see how much current I was actually getting out of it. I am actually getting right around 14.25 volts from the transformer. I did some quick calculations, and with the approximate 280 inches of 30awg wire strung across the bottom of the tank, I figured I was getting close to 50 watts out of the cables. They still didn't feel really hot to the touch (I mean, you could easily grab and hold onto the wire without having to let go due to excessive heat.) I am going to let the places I siliconed (where the 22awg lead wire and the 30awg heating wire meet, and where I siliconed the 22awg wire to the bottom corner of the tank) set for a day or two, then I'm going to add the substrate, fill the tank with water, and run some temperature tests. I bought a couple of digital thermometers from radio shack for this purpose. I'm sure of the fact that they aren't the most accurate things in the world, but I should be able to get a pretty good idea of how the system is going to behave. I will keep you posted on the progress if you would like. Next I am going to start on the new stand and canopy. And, as always, any comments you feel free to throw my way are greatly welcome.


Tank Project Update

by txice/
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999
To: erik/

Hi Erik,

It's been a while, but I've made a bit more progress on my 70 gallon tank project, and I just thought you might enjoy an update. After a couple of weeks of sawing, screwing, nailing, sanding etc, etc, I've finally got the stand and the canopy finished. I was quite pleased with the outcome. I've attached a few more pics to show you the results.

This is a "before" shot of the new stand (minus the door).


This is also a "before" shot of the stand (still minus the door), but the "before" version of the canopy (minus the lid) is included.


This is a shot of the finished stand and canopy (door and lid included). I thought the tank fit quite nicely between the two. My wife picked out the stain. It wouldn't have been my first choice, but it is nice looking.


I've since put in my substrate and have been running some tests on the cable heating system. For the substrate, I used sand blast gravel with laterite mixed in the bottom 1/3. I was lucky enough to find a pet store online (somewhere in Wisconsin I think?) that actually still had a small supply of Duplarit G laterite. Needless to say, I wiped them out of their remaining stock quite quickly :). I also managed to pick up a couple of bottles of Duplaplant 24 while I was at it (last they had of that also). Anyway, I mixed the laterite in with 1 inch of the sandblast gravel. I went a bit heavier than Duplas recommendation for the amount of laterite. I think if I followed their formula, I should have only used 720g, but instead I used 750g. I don't think the extra 30g of laterite is going to hurt anything. Anyway, on top of that, I poured another 2 inches of straight sandblast gravel. 3 inch substrate may be a bit much, but I want to make sure I have enough incase I decide to get some plants that like deep substrate. I would rather have a little too much as opposed to not having enough.

I slowly filled that tank with water (trying to be careful enough not to stir up the substrate too much). I then inserted the probes of two digital thermometers I bought from Radio Shack. These thermometers display two temperatures, one is the temperature that the thermometer itself sees, and the other is the temperature the probe sees. Their those kinds that have a probe attached to a long wire so you can have the unit inside, and run the probe out a window or something so you get the temperature for both inside and out. Anyway, one probe I have floating somewhere close to the middle of the tank, and the probe from the second thermometer is buried about 1-2 inches in the substrate. I've been running some temperature tests for the past 3 days. I won't bore you with all of the actual recordings I took, but here is a summary:

Before the cable heating system was turned on, the difference between the gravel temp and the water column temp averaged only a couple tenths of a degree. After the cable heating system was turned on, the temperature difference between the gravel and water column is holding right around 4 degrees (with the gravel being warmer of course). The temperature in the water column fluctuated depending on the time of the day, but it hasn't gone above 80 degrees since I've been monitoring it (it stays right around 77-78 degrees). The gravel is staying right around 81-82 degrees. Does that sound like good results to you? The cable system certainly isn't powerful enough to heat the entire tank, but do you think that it's enough by only keeping the gravel about 4 degrees hotter? Is that enough to provide the convection currents?

I kinda have a theory that convection currents are happening, but I'm not sure. Here is why I say that. The water in the tank was fairly clear for the first couple of days. Not crystal clear, but since I added the water to the tank very slowly, allot of the residual dust in the gravel didn't get mixed up in the water. Anyway, the third day I noticed the water had a slight brownish tint. The water doesn't stink or anything, so I don't think the water is already going stale or bad. Here is what I think happened. I think that perhaps there is convection taking place, and that some of the residual laterite dust that was in the lower 1/3 of the substrate is being pulled into the water column as the water circulates through the gravel. Nothing else is causing water movement in the tank...there is no filtration system hooked up as of yet. And like I said, I don't think the water is foul already. It doesn't stink or anything, and it's only been sitting there for 3 days...certainly it wouldn't begin to go bad that quickly. What do you think?

Well that's about it so far. I'm getting ready to order my ballasts to install in the canopy. I'm getting 3 Coralife ballasts (each will support two bulbs for a total of six bulbs). And I've got a local pet store owner custom making me a 15 gallon acrylic sump for my filter system.

Tim McGovern

Another Update

by Tim McGovern <txice/>
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 1999
To: Krib <erik/>

Hi Erik,

I've got yet another update for you. I will apologize now if this gets a little long.

Since our last mail exchange, I came to the conclusion that the cloudiness in the water was being caused by algea or something similar - perhaps bacteria. It would seem you were right. If it were what I thought it was (laterite dust), it should have settled in the tank, but it never did. Even after I turned off the cable heating system, the water only got worse. Anyway, I've since changed out the water in the tank and currently testing my filtration system. I have taken some pictures of the system, but they aren't very clear pictures, so some extra commentation of the system will be in order.

First, the background. I wanted to setup a filtration system using an external sump, thus being able to hide all the other "stuff" in the sump as opposed to having a zillion different tubes and cables cluttering up the real tank. So I set off to devise my own trickle filter of sorts. What I ended up using was a 15 gallon glass aquarium for the sump. I was originally having a local pet store owner build me a 15 gallon acrylic tank, but he is dragging his feet in getting it finished, and I grew impatient. Anyway, to get the "trickle" effect, I fashioned a "bio-tower" out of 3 small betta tanks I bought at a local PetSmart. The bio-tower is kinda small and doesn't hold a substantial amount of bio-media, so I added a Merlin Fluidized Bed filter to the equation to achieve the extra biological filtration. Perhaps this is a bit overkill, but I figure too much is better than not enough. Anyway, back to the "filter". I am using a Hagan 402 powerhead to pump the water through the Merlin. For the return pump, I am using a WhaleShark pump (made by PennPlax I think). I had originally ordered a Seltz L30 pump, but the folks I ordered it from were out and used the WhaleShark as a substitute. The WhaleShark is a little noisier than I would like, but it seems to be working well enough so far. The siphon and the return are nothing more than the intake and spraybar return for an Eheim 2227 Wet/Dry canister filter. I had the tubes lying around in my "stash" of old tank equipment. Well, I'll go into the picture descriptions next, then a few closing comments....and again, I apologize for the pictures, but it was a bit cramped under the tank which made it difficult to get a good picture.


Here is a picture of the "bio-tower". As I mentioned before, it is nothing more than 3 small betta tanks I glued together. I won't go into the details of how I put it together. I'll just say that the water passes through the sponges (which happen to be filter pads for a Fluval 103 canister filter), "trickles" through the holes directly under the sponges, falls over the bio-media (missing in picture), and escapes into the sump through the holes in the bottom. It's not the pretties thing in the world, but it functions exactly as a real trickle filter would. The only problem is the size. It's only around 16" tall, and maybe 3-4" in diameter. I know it's way to small. I think I built it and am using it more for the practice than anything else.


This is a view of the right side of the sump (with my CO2 system in the background). Anyway, in this picture you can see the "bio-tower" inside the sump. The white stuff in the bio-tower is the biological media (I don't remember what it's called, but it looks like small ceramic tubes). The blue thing on the end of the siphon tube is a ball valve that I stole from my old Fluval 303 canister filter. I needed to use it because without it, the water siphons into the sump faster than the WhaleShark can pump it out.


This is a view of the center of the sump. The two green tubes in the background are the siphon and return tubes. The siphon tube goes from upper left and crosses to the lower right. The return tube goes from lower left and crosses to upper right. I crossed the tubes under the tank because it was easier than trying to bend I didn't want to risk kinking the tube. Anyway, In the center of the sump you can see the Merlin Fluidized Bed filter. To the right of the Merlin (kinda hard to see - looks like a think black line across the bottom of the sump) is the Hagan 402 power head. Again, the Merlin was added to make up for the "bio-tower" being so small.


This is a view of the left side of the sump. The little gray blob in the corner of the sump is the WhaleShark pump. And it's hard to tell what it is, but the thiny whiteish looking tube running from the front of the WhaleShark is actually the CO2 line. The CO2 bubbles directly into the impeller of the pump. You can also see the transformer box for the cable heater in the background.


This is a view of the tank (full of water). I don't have a background on the tank yet (as you can see), but once it is there, the only thing visible inside the tank will be the siphon tube and spray bar. The siphon tube has two holes drilled into it near the water line. These holes suck air and break the siphon incase the pump fails. I tested everything out and it works well. The spray bar works the same. When the water level in the tank falls below the first hole in the spray bar, the spray bar will also loose its siphon. This was an unexpected finding, but logical when I think about it. The pump pushes the water to the spray bar and into the tank, but what I found out was when the pump looses power, the return will begin to go backwards and turn into a second siphon. Luckily, the first hole in the spray bar is just about the same level as the holes I drilled in the siphon bar. Anyway, if the pump looses it's power, the sump will not overflow. I marked a level on the sump that ensures as long as the sump runs at or below that certain level, the sump will not overflow if the pump fails. All I have to remember to do is keep the sump running at or below that level! It's not a perfect system, but good enough for now.

So, to sum up??? Everything functions well enough. The space under the tank is pretty cramped, and I'm not too pleased with having all those tubes and cables running all over the place. I'm a neat freak and I like order, and this system lacks a bit of that order. Will it work like a professionally built trickle filter - I think so. It doesn't look as nice, but I think I've got all the basic functionality covered. Was it worth it? I don't know. I saved a little money over buying a professional trickle filter. The cheapest trickle filter I could fine was around $120 (minus the pump). I bought everything I used here for around $100 (including a pump). So it was a little cheaper, but I think the next time (or perhaps on this tank in the future) I will buy a professional trickle filter instead. It was kinda fun doing a DIY version though.

(No Title)

by "McGovern, Tim D" <Tim.McGovern/>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999
To: erik/

Hi Erik,

It's me (txice/'m writing this from work.

Unfortunately, this isn't an update on the progress I've made on the tank. Money has been a little tight the past couple of weeks because the wife has been off work due to the birth of my new daughter. The reduction in income has sort of put me on a stand still for completing the tank. I don't have much left, but this idle time is driving me nuts! My next step is the lighting system. This is probably going to be the most expensive part, so it's taking me a while to save up the money to buy what I need. I hope to be able to proceed in the next week or so.

In my idle time, I've been running the filtration system and the cable system...trying to work out any bugs I find. The cable heating system is working perfectly. The filter system is being a pain in the butt. The reason I am writing you this is to give you an explanation of how my filter is setup, describe what is happening, and see if you might have any ideas on the matter. I've included a hand drawing I scanned of how the system is setup.

[Tim's initial skimmer]
[Editor's note: Please read the reply message before considering this design!]

I'd like to start by describing how the system is setup. Although it shouldn't be hard to figure it out by looking at the drawing, I just wanted to verbalize what I've done.

For starters, some general information. From looking at the drawing, you will notice I've indicated a "minimum" and a "maximum" water level on the sump (on the far right side of the drawing). Here is how I came up with this. The minimum water level was easy to figure out. This is the level at which the manufacturer of the water pump suggest the sump not go below. The pump manufacturer says that if the water level in the sump goes below this minimum level, the pump will not function properly (plus the pump becomes very noisy if the water level goes below this mark). The maximum water level I had to play with. What I did was fill the sump to the "minimum" level first. Then, making sure the main tank was full, I started the siphon from the tank into the sump letting the sump fill up to about 1 or 2 inches from the top. I then marked the level of water in the main tank and drilled a couple holes in the siphon tube right above the water line. I then made another mark on the sump that was one or two inches above the "minimum" marker and dubed this the maximum level of water the sump should have in it. The theory here is that as long as the filter system is running, and the main tank is full, if power should fail and the sumps water level is below the "maximum" mark, the sump would be able to hold enough water that would continue to siphon from the tank until the water level dropped below the holes drilled in the siphon tube breaking the siphon and preventing water from spilling out of the sump onto the floor. Doing several test runs, this works very well. As long as I make sure the water level in the sump is below the maximum level, the system works. The siphon will break before the sump overflows.

A little more general info before I get into the filter process. The siphon and return tubes are the tubes that go on an Eheim 2227 wet/dry canister filter. The tubing for the siphon and return is the proper Eheim tubing designed to fit the same Eheim filter. Since the tubing is Eheim, it's measured in the metric system. The tube says it's 16/22mm. I'm not sure what that equates to in english measurements, but the tube looks to be about 3/4 inchs in diameter.

Well, OK. Enough of's how I have it setup. This should be easy to follow in the sketch.

Water flows from the tank through the siphon tube into the sump. At the end of the siphon tube, I put a ball valve the enable me to adjust the rate at which the siphon flows. I had to do this because if I have the siphon running wide open, the water pump is unable to pump the water out of the sump fast enough. The siphon tube dumps into my homemade bio-tower which sits inside the sump. The water flows throught a micron filter pad sandwhiched between to prefilter sponges. Water passes through the drip plate and falls over some biomedia I placed inside the tower. Water exits the biotower and into the sump through a series of holes drilled into the bottom of the biotower. Since the biotower is so small and only hold less than a pound of biomedia, I added a Merlin Fluidized Bed filter to the sump to bump up the biological filtration. The Merlin is fed by a Hagan 402 power head which is simply stuck to the side of the sump. The Merlins return tube simply exits back into the sump. To return water to the tank, I'm using a Penn Plaxx Whale Shark water pump. In the return tube, I placed a one way check valve to prevent the return from backflowing incase the pump goes out. That's about it.

Now here's where I'm having problems. The whaleshark is rated to pump 520+ gallons at a 6 foot height. I know I'm below the 6 foot mark, so I know I'm getting the maximum flow rate from the pump. Now, if I open the ball valve on the siphon all the way, the pump is unable to pump water out of the sump fast enough, so I know that the siphon is running much higher than 520gph when it's wide open. The problem lies in the fact that I can't seem to get the siphons flow rate adjusted to match the pumps output level. I find myself having to constantly check the sump to make sure I'm within the "safe zone" marked on the tank. Everytime I check the sump, I'm either going below the minimum level, or I'm going above the maximum level. I can't get a steady flow that holds a constant water level in the sump. This is starting to get very frustrating (I take that's starting to really piss me off!). Now I remember why I got rid of my 125 gallon reef tank with the wet/dry filter. I remember having similar problems with it. No matter what I do, I can't get the water level to stay in the safe zone for more than an hour or two...then I have to make an adjustment one way or the other. I like spending time on the tank, but having to check it every half hour is getting rediculous. Everything else about the filter system is great. Everything works likes it's supposed to. I've got the mechanical and biological aspects pretty much covered. But this flow rate adjusting is really killing me.

Is my filter system just a plain old bad design? Am I missing something? Can you think of anything to do differently? I know I could simply trash the whole system and simply go with a big canister filter or something, but I think the wife would get pissed since I've already put a couple hundred dollars into the equipment I'm currently using. Plus, I like the sump idea because it gives me a place to put everything without having to have a crap load of other tubes and cables and heaters and such sticking out of the main tank. I'm kinda in a catch 22 here. I like the sump idea, but I hate how it works. Any pearls of wisdom on the matter???

your mail

by Erik Olson <erik/>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999
To: "McGovern, Tim D" <Tim.McGovern/>

Hi Tim,

Finally got to look at your drawing.


(OK was that loud enough? :)

You must have real some form of regulation, or, as you are suspecting, your water will drain out too quick, or too slow. You cannot do this merely by trying to adjust flow like you are trying...

Go take a look at any of the many overflow box schemes I've archived on the Krib.

Or you could even take a look at mine.

They all rely on having siphon connected to a resevoir of water that overflows into a standpipe. Many different variations on this theme, but you MUST have one form of it.

Hope this helps you...and saves you having to buy a new floor.

And congrats on your daughter!

- Erik

Erik Olson
erik at thekrib dot com


by Tim McGovern <txice/>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999
To: erik/

Hi Erik,

Did alot of thinking over the weekend. Before I was able to get back to work and read your e-mail advising against using my current filtration setup, I kinda came to that exact same conclusion myself. On Monday, I placed an order from World Wide Pet Supply for a wet/dry filter with a skimmer box. I only paid $129 for everything I need to set up the filter except for the pump (which I already have). I did some checking around locally, and there was no place nearby that I would have been able to purchase materials from cheaper to make my own setup, so I just paid for a pre-made system. I would have liked to try and build my own (I love building stuff), but I couldn't justify paying more for the materials to build my own than what it cost me to buy one already made. Anyway, should have the filter tomorrow. Am looking forward to setting it up. I'm pretty sure I will like it better than what I am currently using.


New Pictures

by Tim McGovern <txice/>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999
To: Erik <erik/>

Hi Erik,

I finally got around to taking some more pics of the tank. Not much new to report, but I finally got around to taking some pictures of the new wet dry. It's working out great. I got the new shell for the wet/dry and it at least didn't have any cracks in it this time. Well, here's the pics:

This is a picture of the new shell after I transfered all of the biomedia and other stuff from the old cracked shell.


Here you can see the wet/dry in operation. This is a view of the sump side. In the sump you can see the Penn Plaxx Whale Shark water pump. My CO2 canister is in the backround.


This is another shot of the wet/dry in operation - just the other side. In the background you can see the transformer box for the cable heating system hanging on the inside of the stand.


This is a view of the skimmer box hanging off the back of the tank. This thing is totally cool. Now that I've seen how they work, I'll never try another wet/dry configuration without one!


Hope to have the lights operational soon. I'll update you on that once I have the hood finished. Man, this is taking a while, but it's alot more fun building the stuff yourself than simply buying it!

Talk to you later.

Tim McGovern

Up to Reports From Tim <- Plant People <- Plants <- The Krib
This page was last updated 26 December 1999