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Old 01/27/2010, 06:01 AM   #1
nahham
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A ~19,000 Gallon Aquarium

Hello everyone,

I've started this somewhere else and just found about Reef Central so I thought I'll post here as well. I'll try to get you up to speed on where the tank is right now with a bit of history and images

A little bit of context: We live next to a waterfront and currently have a small fish farm (~40,000 gallons) and wanted to expand on that. So we decided to build an aquarium next to that facing our houses (4 of them). There will be no filtration systems to speak of expect for live sand and live rock. The water circulation will be directly for the sea with a ~4,000 gallon refugium with live sand and live rock and some mangroves maybe? We successfully ran the fish farm with direct circulation from the sea without any problems until the side broke and we lost all the fish We are rebuilding the fish farm together with the refugium so hopefully it will last a lifetime this time around.

Enough with the chitchat. Here are some progress shots from the time we started building the aquarium, this will be on 3 posts:

Here are how the design of the aquarium evolved:


The dimensions of the aquarium.


Design of the columns that will hold the 3 pieces of glass.


This is the current plan we are working towards. A bridge connecting both sides of the aquarium and creating a seating area on top of the aquarium. This plays several roles:

1. Partially covering the water to protect from direct sunlight and heat. It gets really hot in summer here.
2. Connect the walkway around the garden.
3. Create an additional themed seating area.



The fish farm next to the aquarium


An overview of the aquarium, looking at it from my SOHO (more than 100 feet away, 1st floor).


Aquarium Dimensions.

Here is how it looked after the marine-grade concrete is done:


An overview of the aquarium. The area in the front will be a sitting area measuring 11m (36ft) x 5m (16.5ft).


This is the view of the front of the aquarium while sitting down.

continued in the next post..


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Old 01/27/2010, 06:02 AM   #2
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We decided to go with 3 pieces of glass for the front side, partially because we wanted to have lighting in those columns and partially because it would be prohibitively expensive otherwise


The columns are up; now the size of the 3 pieces of glass are visible, around 3 m (~10 ft) each. The glass work is in the process of taking final measurements for the glass.


A bit of detail on where the glass will fit. The holes inside the columns are for lighting.

This is some shots of the aquarium after building the over-the-aquarium seating area and bridge.


This is from far far away


A grand shot of the aquarium.


A view from the corner.


The bridge over the fish farm.

continued in the next post..


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Old 01/27/2010, 06:02 AM   #3
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Here is some photos of the aquarium after the glass has been installed. The
glass specifications are as follows:
* 3 pieces of glass
* 12 mm + 12mm thickness
* Laminated + Tempered + Polished


A side shot of the the three pieces of glass. Each glass piece is a meter high by ~3.5 meters wide.


One of the glass pieces.


A shot from inside the tank. The glass guys first put fiberglass on top of the cement and then glue between the fiberglass and the glass pieces.


Another shot from inside the tank.

Here is the design of the refugium:


After all this, I have some questions and I'd love if someone would help me with some answers cause this is my first time building something this big.
  1. How much water circulation? I've read that it should be high for usual tanks, but this is a bit different considering the fact the water is totally changed and the tank is huge?
  2. Painting the inside of the tank: Are there any special paint I can use to paint the cement? I am thinking dark blue.
  3. I can do total water changes every week or so but is it necessary? I am getting my water and fish from the local environment so the water quality shouldn't be a problem.
  4. I'm thinking of submersible water pumps for water movement, how much is enough?
  5. I currently have 2 45,000 GPH pumps that I'm using and I'm thinking of using one of those for the water circulation between the tank and the refugium, will it be enough?
  6. How deep should the live sand (DSB) be in the refugium?
  7. Is having mangroves in the refugium a good idea?
  8. Are there any good skimmers that aren't too high (~1m) that are rated for around 12,000 gallon tanks? I'm thinking of using 2.

I hope you enjoy this and excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes, English is my second language after all



Last edited by nahham; 01/27/2010 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 01/27/2010, 06:04 AM   #4
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omg..


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Old 01/27/2010, 06:05 AM   #5
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WOW!


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Old 01/27/2010, 06:43 AM   #6
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holy crap this is awesome


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Old 01/27/2010, 06:51 AM   #7
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wow that is amazing! i cant really answer any questions but what is it that you would like to keep in there exactly because that could help with answers.


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Old 01/27/2010, 06:51 AM   #8
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This looks like a job for seaworld! I'm sorry, I can't offer any help. Way out of my league but I sure will tag along for the ride! WOW! What a system.


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:04 AM   #9
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WOW! is right!!
I'm tagging along on this one for sure. I do have a concern when something this big is being built already and there are some very basic questions still unanswered. Excuse me if I'm out of line here but wouldn't you have things like water flow and skimming filtration figured out by now? Concrete is hard to add plumbing through or under later on. With the ability to change water completely, why not just circulate new all the time? You wouldn't need to skim, would you?


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elias123 View Post
wow that is amazing! i cant really answer any questions but what is it that you would like to keep in there exactly because that could help with answers.
We are starting with fish, live sand, and live rock and hopefully expand afterwards. I am building it bit by bit. Hopefully we can have SPS and works later.


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:14 AM   #11
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Could you tell us more about your ultimate goals/visions of this aquarium? I am curious what you plan on keeping, fish, corals maybe?

Having the water constantly changing would be nice but it sounds like you will have little control over the environment. You will be at the will of the sea, the weather, and other elements.

With sensitive fish and invertebrates, do you think pollution from all of those ships will be a problem? I would think a little diesel would make it into the aquarium at some point. Will you be drawing in water from under the surface?

Will you add any extra lighting to supplement the area covered by the 'seating area'?


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by welldigger View Post
With the ability to change water completely, why not just circulate new all the time? You wouldn't need to skim, would you?
My thought's exactly. Couldn't you just have a few pipes running to and from that massive NSW tank called the ocean behind the tank? Then all you have to worry about is flow in the tank itself. Heck, doing that would save a lot of $$$ since you wouldn't have to have a skimmer/fuge(might be cool though with all the growth you would get)/reactors/chemicals. And what is better than natural sunlight.


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by welldigger View Post
WOW! is right!!
I'm tagging along on this one for sure. I do have a concern when something this big is being built already and there are some very basic questions still unanswered. Excuse me if I'm out of line here but wouldn't you have things like water flow and skimming filtration figured out by now? Concrete is hard to add plumbing through or under later on. With the ability to change water completely, why not just circulate new all the time? You wouldn't need to skim, would you?
Thanks for your comment. I don't know if you noticed me alternating between the use of "us" and "I/me" its a matter of what I personally think and what we decide as "stakeholders"

The reason behind the questions is that we first had the water circulating 24hrs from the sea for the fish farm. We didn't have a problem with that but then i was worried about stuff like the red tide and keeping 2 horsepower pumps working 24/7 .

Since it is a big thing (and we have a construction company) it becomes a little easier changing plans. We are planning to do the plumbing from over the tank but still keep it mostly hidden. I still don't know about the skimming part though, but the refugium will be able to handle that if needed.


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:33 AM   #14
nahham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logzor View Post
Could you tell us more about your ultimate goals/visions of this aquarium? I am curious what you plan on keeping, fish, corals maybe?

Having the water constantly changing would be nice but it sounds like you will have little control over the environment. You will be at the will of the sea, the weather, and other elements.

With sensitive fish and invertebrates, do you think pollution from all of those ships will be a problem? I would think a little diesel would make it into the aquarium at some point. Will you be drawing in water from under the surface?

Will you add any extra lighting to supplement the area covered by the 'seating area'?
Constantly changing water is good but as you said not much control is a problem especially when it comes to things like the red tide and other problems. It is also expensive

As for pollution, we get the water from around 2 - 3 meters under the surface so that helps with the water quality and temperature for that matter. We ran the fish farm through the summer here without any cover with temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius (118.4 degrees Fahrenheit) without any temperature increases in the fish farm (it was identical to that of the sea).

There are lighting in the columns between the glass. We can also add lighting under the seating area if required.


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:35 AM   #15
nahham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svynx View Post
My thought's exactly. Couldn't you just have a few pipes running to and from that massive NSW tank called the ocean behind the tank? Then all you have to worry about is flow in the tank itself. Heck, doing that would save a lot of $$$ since you wouldn't have to have a skimmer/fuge(might be cool though with all the growth you would get)/reactors/chemicals. And what is better than natural sunlight.
That was fine for the fish farm but the quality of the water changes in the ocean and especially near the land so I am trying to control that with the fuge.


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:54 AM   #16
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This is going to be awesome


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Old 01/27/2010, 07:55 AM   #17
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HOLY CRAP.....THIS IS AWESOME.

Running a Closed loop 24/7 or pulling from the Ocean 24/7 would be the same use of energy. Why not have 1 pump setup for both. A closed loop pump circulating the water from the tank itself, but then T off the intake to the pump and run it to the Ocean water. Add some valves and you could close it off if you needed too, and continue to circulate the tank water?


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Old 01/27/2010, 08:31 AM   #18
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OMG~~~~~~~~~
I really interesting~~!


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Old 01/27/2010, 08:31 AM   #19
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Wow


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Old 01/27/2010, 08:42 AM   #20
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This should be fun to watch come together!!!

Nice job so far.


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Old 01/27/2010, 08:44 AM   #21
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WOW, very cool project!

I can't help a lot with most of your questions, but maybe a little:

1. A LOT! I agree in that you won't need as much "turnover" (I hate that term) as we do in smaller tanks, but it would still be wise to keep as much detrius in suspension as possible.

2. Look into marine grade paints that are used for boats.

3. Assuming you can keep nutrients in line I wouldn't worry about doing 100% water changes every week. Honestly once your tank is well established with the refugium and all you won't need to do much water changing at all (look into other means of replenishing necessary nutrients).

4. For this size aquarium you'll want to look into large prop pumps that are commonly used in public aquaria - way out of our league

6. I would go with around 6". http://www.ronshimek.com/deep_sand_beds.html

7. In most aquaria (yours isn't most ) mangroves are not nearly as efficient at exporting nutrients as macroalgaes based on the size mangroves we can house: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/3/lines. You could grow large trees, and it would honestly look amazing if you did. I would utlize mostly macroalgae initially and grow some mangroves (we can only harvest pods here) in your refugium.

8. Uh, a really, really big one! The three names that come to mind off hand for a "commercial sized" skimmer would be RK2 (USA), Sander Aquarientechnik (Germany, similar to RK2), and the "newer" styled MRC (My Reef Creations, USA). I'm sure ATB (Austria) or Royal Exclusiv (Germany) would be willing to build something but that would be big, big bucks. In my honest opinion you could probably get away with just your refugium and water changes, but a skimmer(s) could only help.

I would contact people in the public aquarium industry for more information regarding pumps, filtration, water changes, etc. Joe Yaiullo is the curator of Atlantis Marine World (Long Island Aquarium) http://www.atlantismarineworld.com/a...ts-people.html that built and maintains a gorgeous 20,000 gallon reef there. He is also here on RC; I would try to get ahold of him somehow.

GL, I'll be following this build for sure


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Old 01/27/2010, 08:44 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VivaBorg View Post
HOLY CRAP.....THIS IS AWESOME.

Running a Closed loop 24/7 or pulling from the Ocean 24/7 would be the same use of energy. Why not have 1 pump setup for both. A closed loop pump circulating the water from the tank itself, but then T off the intake to the pump and run it to the Ocean water. Add some valves and you could close it off if you needed too, and continue to circulate the tank water?
Some redundancy would probably be nice to have. If either goes down there would still be some circulation.

BTW, can't wait to see this progress and see the final build!


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Old 01/27/2010, 10:40 AM   #23
nahham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stunreefer View Post
WOW, very cool project!

I can't help a lot with most of your questions, but maybe a little:

1. A LOT! I agree in that you won't need as much "turnover" (I hate that term) as we do in smaller tanks, but it would still be wise to keep as much detrius in suspension as possible.

2. Look into marine grade paints that are used for boats.

3. Assuming you can keep nutrients in line I wouldn't worry about doing 100% water changes every week. Honestly once your tank is well established with the refugium and all you won't need to do much water changing at all (look into other means of replenishing necessary nutrients).

4. For this size aquarium you'll want to look into large prop pumps that are commonly used in public aquaria - way out of our league

6. I would go with around 6". http://www.ronshimek.com/deep_sand_beds.html

7. In most aquaria (yours isn't most ) mangroves are not nearly as efficient at exporting nutrients as macroalgaes based on the size mangroves we can house: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2005/3/lines. You could grow large trees, and it would honestly look amazing if you did. I would utlize mostly macroalgae initially and grow some mangroves (we can only harvest pods here) in your refugium.

8. Uh, a really, really big one! The three names that come to mind off hand for a "commercial sized" skimmer would be RK2 (USA), Sander Aquarientechnik (Germany, similar to RK2), and the "newer" styled MRC (My Reef Creations, USA). I'm sure ATB (Austria) or Royal Exclusiv (Germany) would be willing to build something but that would be big, big bucks. In my honest opinion you could probably get away with just your refugium and water changes, but a skimmer(s) could only help.

I would contact people in the public aquarium industry for more information regarding pumps, filtration, water changes, etc. Joe Yaiullo is the curator of Atlantis Marine World (Long Island Aquarium) http://www.atlantismarineworld.com/a...ts-people.html that built and maintains a gorgeous 20,000 gallon reef there. He is also here on RC; I would try to get ahold of him somehow.

GL, I'll be following this build for sure
Thank you very much for the information. I was reading about DSB and other stuff I've asked about but more people weighing in is always a plus.


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Old 01/27/2010, 11:10 AM   #24
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I agree that contacting the curator from Atlantis Marine World would be beneficial, his username is JustJoe, he may be able to answer questions not many can.

Instead of running huge amounts of water in from the sea everyone once in a while, why not run a much smaller motor all the time? It's an idea to think about at least. A surge device of some sort would also be very beneficial to the system, being able to "storm" an aquarium of that size will be important to keep detritus suspended.


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Old 01/27/2010, 11:14 AM   #25
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OH MY GAWSH!!!! And with pictures too! That saves about 16 pages worth of "this is a hoax" posts! Super nice! keep up the good work!


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