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Preparing for the New Tank

By Steve Poland Aquatics on

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This is part three in a series of videos about my project to upgrade this 220 to an 8 foot long 300-gallon tank from custom aquariums. In part one, I introduced the project and talked about some of the reasons for it. In part two, I toured the headquarters of custom aquariums. If you missed either of those videos, I'll link them below.

The tank is currently in transit, I've been using this time to do some prep work to make sure that everything is ready to go when it arrives.

There are some things about the way my existing tank is set up that I plan to carry forward to the new tank though I do plan to make some improvements. There are some other things that will completely change. One of the big things that will change is the filtration.

This tank is filtered by three canisters, but the new tank will be filtered by a sump. In order to minimize the noise, the sump won't be in the stand. It's going to be down in the crawl space that's directly below the tank. This crawl space might look familiar to those of you who've been watching me for a long time. I used to have a big aquaponics system down here though it was on the other side of the house.

It's not a super fun space to work in because it's only like five feet tall, but having the sump down here is going to give me a bunch of extra room for plumbing. I'll get into the details of all that later. For now, I needed to build a stand for this thing. No one will really see this except, of course, for all of you. Looks don't really matter. I decided to just build a very basic stand from two by fours and plywood.

I went out and grabbed the two by fours. I already had some plywood on hand to reuse, it was already painted with a couple of coats of kills. The first step was to cut the two by fours to length, once that was done I started to assemble it, then I did the same exact process again. I did the rest of the assembly down the crawlspace because it would have been a pain to move the stand around once it was finished.

The last step was to add the plywood top. Now I've got a nice space for the sump once it arrives. I may have some more plywood to the bottom later to create a shelf for storage, but for now, it's good to go. Another thing I needed to work on was the fill system. When I say there are things I plan to carry over from the old tank to the new one, a big part of that is the way I do water changes.

It's a little bit complicated, but worth going over. It's really two different systems that serve similar purposes. One system does automated overnight water changes, and the other allows me to do big manual water changes without carrying buckets or hoses. The overnight water changes are run by the system I originally built to run my basement fish room.

I did a very detailed video on it back then which I'll link below. The short version is that the water goes through a temperature valve and then into these water filters to remove the chlorine. Then the sprinkler timer is set to send water directly upstairs to the tank in the middle of the night. I used to have four zones on this, but when I tore down my fish room, I removed all but one.

I use the same system to refill the tank on my big water changes as well. When I remove the other three zones, I just teed this off and it runs across the ceiling, up to the tank via this tubing, but it's pretty slow, I don't really need this water to be filtered since I can just add some dechlorinator.

I decided to add another teed before it hits the filters that runs up to the same tubing and the flow rate is nearly double the flow rate that I was getting through the filters. This system now gives me the ability to do automated overnight fills and big fills whenever I want using either filtered or regular water.

That's another big change I made in preparation for the new tank because my water changes will be even larger. I wanted them to be as fast as possible. If you're wondering where all this water goes, that's another thing that will be changing. Right now I have two ways to get water out of the tank.

One is this DIY tube that's basically the same as a canister filter input, but instead of going to a filter it goes to this pump and then down through the wall, to the basement to a floor drain. It's nice because it allows me to drain the tank very quickly with no manual labor. This same concept will be in place on the new tank, but instead of this overflow, the tank will just be drilled.

I have them drill an extra hole for me down in the bottom corner so that will connect to the pump instead. The second way the water leaves the tank is this overflow box and that's how the water from the overnight fills is displaced. It works pretty well. It also runs down through the wall to the drain, same concept, but it takes up a bunch of room in the tank. Well, I've never had a problem with it, there's a possibility that it could stop working.

This function will be moving from the tank to the sump but I'll be adding some more automation to it. That's not really something I can work on right now, but I'll be sure to explain it in detail later. Another thing I had to plan for, was what to do with my fish while these tanks are moving around. Most fish you can just throw in a bucket or multiple buckets, but this guy is huge.

I want to stress him out as little as possible. I went to tractor supply and bought this 100 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank. The dumb part is that I had one of these a couple years ago and sold it, but they're only like 70 bucks. In worst case I can just sell this one after I'm done with it.

My current plan is to put a couple of the canisters from the tank on this stock tank while he's in it just to keep him happy and keep the bio media active. I need to figure out a lid because I can't just leave it open like this, he'll definitely try to jump. The last thing I've been doing is buying plumbing supplies.

In case you hadn't picked up on it yet, I'm going have a lot of plumbing work to do to make all this work. The pump for the sump has to run up through the wall to the tank and then to a manifold that will connect to the four returns they've drilled in the tank and the overflows will need to run back down and then all the other stuff that I've mentioned.

It's been a lot of planning and trips to the hardware store. In my next video I'll show the tank arriving, hopefully, in one piece and then after that, we'll work on some plumbing. Thanks, everyone for watching. 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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