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300 Gallon Aquarium – Plumbing and Final Prep

By Steve Poland Aquatics on

This is part five in a series of videos about my new 300 gallon tank from Custom Aquariums. If you missed the first four parts, I'll link to a playlist for the project down in the video description. The tank, stand, and sump are here, as you saw in the last video, which means I've been able to get started on a lot more prep work to make sure everything is ready on the day that we move out the old tank and move in the new one. One of the first, and easiest things I did, was to paint the back of the tank black. This is something that I always do with my tanks. I just tape up the sides and holes, and then roll it on in four coats. One coat longways.

Then another coat up and down. Then I repeat those for the third and fourth coats. The end result is a nice solid background. Simple but effective.

I've also been working on the plumbing for the tank. This is underneath the stand and it's really just two different parts. One is the ball valves for the overflow lines. Those will come down the stealthbox and these valves will let me adjust the flow before it moves on to the sump down in the basement. I mounted these to a scrap piece of MDF before putting them in the stand, just so that they would have room behind them for the other part that's under here, which is the return line manifold. The main purpose of this is to split the water that comes up from the sump to the four returns that are drilled in the back of the tank. So that's the one inch line on the right. The three quarter inch line on the left will be connected to the freshwater source that I mentioned in part two of this series.

So when I want to refill the tank after a water change, I just shut off the side that comes up from the pump, and open the side that brings in fresh water. It just made sense to combine these instead of running some other plumbing to get water up into the tank. It will probably make more sense once you see it hooked up with the tank in place.

Then down in the basement I had a bunch more to do. I added a one and a half bulkhead to the right side of the reservoir tub, which is where the pump will connect. Then I added two three quarter inch bulkheads to the back, and those are for the automated water change system. Then I added a two inch uniseal on the left side. This will connect to a two inch uniseal on the baffle tub to let water flow between the two tubs. I could have done this with bulkheads but I had a bunch of spare two inch uniseals and figured I might as well use them. I haven't gone into detail on the overflows for the automated water changes, so here's what those look like with the the plumbing attached. The lower line connects to a solenoid valve, and this is just one of the ones that had been in use before when my automated system ran the whole fishroom. It's what's called a "normally closed" valve, which means that unless the system tells it to open, it's sitting there closed and the sump doesn't drain. This will then connect to a hose that runs down to a floor drain.

So every night, or on whatever schedule I choose, I'll have this valve open for a set period of time to let water drain. This is intentionally higher than the pump so that it won't impact the tank at all. Then once that's done, the solenoid that's connected to the water supply will open and refill the sump. The higher bulkhead here is to ensure that I don't overflow the sump. As you can see, it's connected to the same drain line but further down so that if I add more water than I've removed, I don't have a flood. Of course, both lines have ball valves and unions to make maintenance easier.

As for the pump, I'm using a 5300 gallon per hour pump from Lifegard Aquatics. I won't get that much flow, of course, since it's pumping up to another floor. Just in case I need to throttle it down, I've teed off the line coming from the pump and added a recirculation line. This just goes back into the baffle tub and it allows me to really dial in my flow rate. Here's the entire sump with everything connected, and full of water for a leak test.

Another thing I needed to take care of was a change I plan to make to my substrate. I've had this white sand in my tanks for many years, and while I like it, it's not the most natural looking substrate, and for this Umbee I wanted to change to something darker. I spent a bunch of time looking at different types of sand. Here is a layout of what I started with and where I ended. Number one is my existing sand. It's CaribSea Eco Complete African Cichlid. Number two is a similar product that I used in my 90 gallon way back when, and it's just their African Chichlid Mix. It's the same color but a slightly smaller grain size. Number three is play sand, which I wasn't actually considering but wanted to see as a point of comparison. Number four is pool filter sand, which is a very economical alternative, and I don't hate it, but it was still too light for me. Number five is what I ended up buying. It's CaribSea Super Naturals, and the color is called Sunset Gold. The grain size is definitely smaller than I would like.

As much as my Umbee moves sand around I may end up regretting it, but the color is perfect. I ended up ordering four 50 pound bags through a local fish store here called Rivers to Reefs. I saved a bunch of money this way so a huge thanks to Aaron and if you're near central Ohio, hopefully you already know about Rivers to Reefs, but if not, be sure to check it out. Once I had it, it was just a matter of doing a lot of rinsing. So at this point I'm about as ready as I can be to move the tank. I've got water in the stock tank and threw this wood on top as a temporary lid. It's actually the wood that I took off of the sides of the crate. I just made some room for the filter inputs, and outputs and drilled a few holes in the top for air. I also threw an air pump on there just in case.

I'm really excited to get this tank all set up and share it with you, and that will be happening soon. Thanks as always for watching, and until next time, have a good one.

About Steve Poland Aquatics

Steve’s 300-gallon display aquarium houses one fish...his huge umbee cichlid. This project features a complete Seamless Sump filter system installed under the room where the display aquarium is located. Steve is passionate about the aquarium hobby.

On his YouTube channel, Steve provides some great aquarium tips and tutorials information and showcases his fishroom tours, aquarium projects and product reviews. Please watch his videos for some great info!

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