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Old 05/03/2014, 06:58 AM   #1
skinsncanes
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280+ Gallon Shark Tank

Greetings! I have been reading the forum for months and finally decided it was time to get a few last questions answers before starting my build.

My plan is to have a minimum 280 gallon wide tank. The tank is being built around having two coral cat sharks. Possibly an eel or ray as well. Eventually maybe a few supporting tank mates if I can support the load. Initially though I will only get the two sharks.

The tank is being built in my basement. I have a room dedicated to the 'back' of the tank.

Here are my current questions:

Protein skimmer: I read two opposite answers on this. From any aquarium store I have called they all say I definitely dont need a skimmer for a fish only tank with a few sharks. Forums tend to say that sharks eat violently and you need the skimmer to keep it clean. My thought was the waste from eating would be large and caught in the socks or live rock and not the protein skimmer.

Sump setup: I have the ability to put mostly anything in the tank room. I can build a sink, plumb a drain, etc. Im trying to find similar builds to model off of and 'future proof' the tank.

Laundry sink: Has anyone tried using a series of laundry sinks as sumps? My thought was if I put three of them in a row, I could fill one with live rock, have another for the protein skimmer and one for sumps. I could even use the first one as a way to do water changes, plumb in the drain to empty water and have fresh water added to the last sink with the sumps.

I want to have a large portion of my live rock in the sumps. I want to give the sharks plenty of room in the main tank to swim.

The current tank I was planning on ordering is 72L x 36W x 24T. I could get a longer tank, up to 86. The tank will be built into a corner and nothing past 72 will be viewable. However I can make it longer and hide the overflows on that side.

Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated but please save the 'dont get a shark' or '300 is cruel for a cat shark' comments for another thread.


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Old 05/03/2014, 07:01 AM   #2
skinsncanes
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Here are two models my friend created while designing the bar. It shows the 72x36x24 tank built in. The fish room is also the beer room and houses my 12 kegs of home brew

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/pi...ictureid=62805

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/pi...ictureid=62804


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Old 05/03/2014, 07:02 AM   #3
skinsncanes
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sorry still learning how to post pics on this forum


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Old 05/03/2014, 07:08 AM   #4
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This isnt quite related to this thread but Im building this tank around my passion for brewing beer, and traveling the world to scuba dive with sharks. This logo is a work in progress but I call my home brewery "Shark Tank Brewing". My friends think its just because of my scuba diving but wait till they see the tank

Also, I made a slogan. You know how zoos say 'bred in captivity, released to the wild", its a plan on words with that. I have a few different versions of it.




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Old 05/03/2014, 08:04 AM   #5
vair
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You won't get many replies if you don't want to hear the truth on size.
For sure a skimmer on predictor tanks is a huge advantage on water quality expessally if the tank is ridiculously under sized for its load.


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Old 05/03/2014, 08:09 AM   #6
skinsncanes
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I havent read anywhere that 300 gallons isnt enough for a coral cat shark. Am I missing something?


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Old 05/03/2014, 09:37 AM   #7
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Well I'm not an expert on the shark but I've had many predator tanks.
Quick search: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...290&pcatid=290

Min. Tank size they say is 180g, remember there in the business to sell fish.
They grow to three and a half feet! Lfs has had them in a massive display that they out grew. You want two and / or a eel or ray, IMO no where close to enough room.


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Old 05/03/2014, 09:41 AM   #8
skinsncanes
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Thats a different species of shark then what I wrote. Heres a link to the species I'm referring too. And no offense man but thats why I said save the 'its not big enough' comments. People just see shark and write that without actually knowing.

https://www.bluezooaquatics.com/prod...pid=251&cid=36

I'm more looking for feedback on the best way to design my fish room for sumps, sinks, etc to make sure I future proof the tank enough.


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Old 05/03/2014, 09:55 AM   #9
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The shark will potentially get to 2'. That means in order for it to turn around comfortably you're looking at 4' wide. I'd imagine length wise anything less than 3x its body length would be incredibly cramped, which means we're talking 6'x4'x2' to be fair to the animal.


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Old 05/03/2014, 09:59 AM   #10
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For a pair of coral cats, 300 should be enough. I personally recommend shying away from mixing elasmobranches and teleosts. You are asking for problems, especially in a small setup.

As for water quality - I highly recommend a large and efficient skimmer unless you plan on siphoning feces and doing very frequent water changes. The cats are pretty efficient at eating all of the food, but produce a lot of waste - having a primitive GI tract. They vomit indigestibles, have a short intestine and lack a colon.

You can see in the tank I'm setting up, that I have taken several measures to remove waste. The current skimmer is only rated up to 1000 gal and the tank is 2800 gals. I have a RK2 25PE that I plan to modify or may add a second cone.

The protein skimmer also acts as a degassing chamber.

Also, liverock can only be considered decor in the shark system. The filtration is inadequate. The bead filters are great choice. Great at biofiltration, water clarification, and making water changes. The amount of sludge they pull out is truly amazing. For your size aquarium the Ultima II 1000 is a great choice. I feed ~ 3 lbs of food at a time and though I run two beads on my current 900 system - there is never a spike in ammonia. There is also no need for a sump and you can plumb the skimmer after the bead and avoid a second feed pump.




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Old 05/03/2014, 10:02 AM   #11
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I'd look at Rubbermaid containers over laundry sinks just for the cost savings alone.
Good luck with your build.


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Old 05/03/2014, 10:09 AM   #12
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The protein skimmer is for removing dissolved proteinaceous matter, not the large junks. For those you'd use the filter socks as you said. Keeping the water clean is for the sharks' health.

For sumps, you would do better to use a series of Rubber Maid horse troughs than to use laundry sinks; much sturdier and have appropriate holes for fitting bulkheads and piping.

Shark tanks get a general look of consternation here, as you are no doubt starting to get the drift of. We tend to be in favour of not only keeping the animals alive, but of providing environments where the animals actually thrive. What you are proposing, as have so many eager would-be shark keepers before you, is a mere holding pen that will barely keep the animals alive.

Cat sharks, eels and rays live for YEARS, not just a few months. If we were to lock you into a broom closet for years what sort of quality of life would that be for you? Try and use the same perspective and think in terms of providing an optimum environment for the creatures you are bringing into your home against their will.

Dave.M


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Old 05/03/2014, 01:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave.m View Post

Shark tanks get a general look of consternation here
Unfortunately - RC doesn't have a forum for elasmobranch husbandry where those with experience often frequent. I have tried this forum in the past and can attest to the above quote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave.m View Post

Cat sharks, eels and rays live for YEARS, not just a few months.
Like most fish, Angels ~ 15, Triggers ~20, surgeonfish ~20, the coral cats life expectancy is similar ~20 year and lasts longer than the interests of most hobbyist. In theory the life expectancy should be extended in captivity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave.m View Post

If we were to lock you into a broom closet for years what sort of quality of life would that be for you? Try and use the same perspective and think in terms of providing an optimum environment for the creatures you are bringing into your home against their will.
Unlike many "reef" fish, this shark is benthic and infrequently swims, has a small daily range, and I'm not sure about this one, but many similar species even return to the same place to sleep. With the exception of clownfish, damsels and a few others, I would argue that the cruelty inferred above is equally relevant to fish in the home reef tank. Maybe a screen saver is the way to go for some.


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Old 05/03/2014, 06:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alprazo View Post
Unfortunately - RC doesn't have a forum for elasmobranch husbandry where those with experience often frequent. I have tried this forum in the past and can attest to the above quote.



Like most fish, Angels ~ 15, Triggers ~20, surgeonfish ~20, the coral cats life expectancy is similar ~20 year and lasts longer than the interests of most hobbyist. In theory the life expectancy should be extended in captivity.



Unlike many "reef" fish, this shark is benthic and infrequently swims, has a small daily range, and I'm not sure about this one, but many similar species even return to the same place to sleep. With the exception of clownfish, damsels and a few others, I would argue that the cruelty inferred above is equally relevant to fish in the home reef tank. Maybe a screen saver is the way to go for some.
Thanks for the response. Is it right to ask if theres a better forum to get feedback? I'm assuming there are a wealth of knowledgeable people on this forum. And my main questions are in regards to properly setting up my sump and the 'fish tank' room I have before I cover up the walls and can't change the plumbing.

Ive done my research on the sharks. As you said, they are benthic. They don't need four feet to turn around. Im caging an animal, I get it. My back yard is fenced in too, only about 1/2 acre of so in the fenced in area for my huskies that normally run hundreds of miles...they seem happy enough.


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Old 05/03/2014, 06:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
The protein skimmer is for removing dissolved proteinaceous matter, not the large junks. For those you'd use the filter socks as you said. Keeping the water clean is for the sharks' health.

For sumps, you would do better to use a series of Rubber Maid horse troughs than to use laundry sinks; much sturdier and have appropriate holes for fitting bulkheads and piping.

Shark tanks get a general look of consternation here, as you are no doubt starting to get the drift of. We tend to be in favour of not only keeping the animals alive, but of providing environments where the animals actually thrive. What you are proposing, as have so many eager would-be shark keepers before you, is a mere holding pen that will barely keep the animals alive.

Cat sharks, eels and rays live for YEARS, not just a few months. If we were to lock you into a broom closet for years what sort of quality of life would that be for you? Try and use the same perspective and think in terms of providing an optimum environment for the creatures you are bringing into your home against their will.

Dave.M
Thanks for the feed back. Any links to how people plumbed together multiple troughs to optimize space? Im trying to research now if I want a protein skimmer in the sump or external. I'm also debating starting with no protein skimmer. I can't get answers from people that have a fish only/shark tank on how it works with just a lot of live rock and sand and traditional filters.


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Old 05/03/2014, 06:33 PM   #16
skinsncanes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alprazo View Post
For a pair of coral cats, 300 should be enough. I personally recommend shying away from mixing elasmobranches and teleosts. You are asking for problems, especially in a small setup.

As for water quality - I highly recommend a large and efficient skimmer unless you plan on siphoning feces and doing very frequent water changes. The cats are pretty efficient at eating all of the food, but produce a lot of waste - having a primitive GI tract. They vomit indigestibles, have a short intestine and lack a colon.

You can see in the tank I'm setting up, that I have taken several measures to remove waste. The current skimmer is only rated up to 1000 gal and the tank is 2800 gals. I have a RK2 25PE that I plan to modify or may add a second cone.

The protein skimmer also acts as a degassing chamber.

Also, liverock can only be considered decor in the shark system. The filtration is inadequate. The bead filters are great choice. Great at biofiltration, water clarification, and making water changes. The amount of sludge they pull out is truly amazing. For your size aquarium the Ultima II 1000 is a great choice. I feed ~ 3 lbs of food at a time and though I run two beads on my current 900 system - there is never a spike in ammonia. There is also no need for a sump and you can plumb the skimmer after the bead and avoid a second feed pump.

what falls under teleosts? the snow flake eel?

I have to research bead filters I don't know what that is. Thanks for a specific model reference to check. Im surprised to hear the live rock doesn't help with filtration with the sharks. I was going to try and get a large amount, like 200 for the sump and maybe another 100 in the display in an arch or other shape that allows generic hiding but mostly leaves tank free to swim.

I appreciate the info about the sharks digestion. that is the type of specifics I was looking for!!


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Old 05/03/2014, 06:35 PM   #17
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I would go with the skimmer in the sump simply because skimmers tend to overflow when you're not around (how do they know?).

You don't necessarily need more than one sump. It really depends on what you are doing in the sump(s). You can do more than one thing in a 300 gal horse trough.

If you are not sure what it is you are trying to accomplish I suggest you hold off finishing anything for as long as possible. Get things up and running and see how it goes for 6-8 months. Once you have more experience with running the tank you will be in a better position to determine what works best for you and you can then proceed with a better idea of where you are trying to get to.

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Old 05/03/2014, 06:38 PM   #18
skinsncanes
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http://www.aquaultraviolet.com/produ...s/ultima2/1000

So I was looking at this, as suggested. I hadn't seen this type of filter before. Is it essentially replicating the live rock but in a way that allows for a larger amount of surface area of the bacteria to grow? Its not cheap but if it replaces live rock its basically a wash in cost, or even cheaper.


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Old 05/03/2014, 06:40 PM   #19
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I would go with the skimmer in the sump simply because skimmers tend to overflow when you're not around (how do they know?).

You don't necessarily need more than one sump. It really depends on what you are doing in the sump(s). You can do more than one thing in a 300 gal horse trough.

If you are not sure what it is you are trying to accomplish I suggest you hold off finishing anything for as long as possible. Get things up and running and see how it goes for 6-8 months. Once you have more experience with running the tank you will be in a better position to determine what works best for you and you can then proceed with a better idea of where you are trying to get to.

Dave.M
Fortunately, the room that the back of the tank will be in has the houses main plumbing drain, and both the hot and cold water line in it. So added plumbing at any point will be possible. I'm just trying to find a good way to have adequate filtration and to minimize maintenance. Meaning Id rather do some extra work and research now to find implement ways to make water changes simpler, or to ensure tank stays cleaner and chemicals more in balance.


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Old 05/03/2014, 06:53 PM   #20
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http://www.aquaultraviolet.com/produ...s/ultima2/1000

So I was looking at this, as suggested. I hadn't seen this type of filter before. Is it essentially replicating the live rock but in a way that allows for a larger amount of surface area of the bacteria to grow? Its not cheap but if it replaces live rock its basically a wash in cost, or even cheaper.
It says the ultima is only for high flow rates. Would I want or need that much flow for a 300 gallon tank? Id rather not run a large 3/4 hp pump 24/7 if I don't have too it seems like an expensive monthly cost. I honestly haven't research the flow rates I need yet to know whats considered high or low.


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Old 05/03/2014, 08:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by skinsncanes View Post
It says the ultima is only for high flow rates. Would I want or need that much flow for a 300 gallon tank? Id rather not run a large 3/4 hp pump 24/7 if I don't have too it seems like an expensive monthly cost. I honestly haven't research the flow rates I need yet to know whats considered high or low.
A reeflo dart works just fine.

With the bead filters, you save on rock, other external filtration, powerheads because you can divide the returns, additional feed pumps for skimmers, and a sump. There is no maintenance costs for the filter like sponges, and filter pads, filter socks.

They can produce great water clarity, by removing particulate matter down below 30 microns.

Most public aquariums use either these or sand filters (Same idea but use sand instead of floating beads). The sand filters can become problematic over time and require a higher head pressure (bigger pump). They are much cheaper, can be found everywhere because they are used for swimming pools, provide a tremendous surface area, and clarify as well. Easy to find a used one on craigslist.

Live rock filtration is best left for the reef display. Imagine adding even a 1/4 lb of food to a reef tank every other day. It doesn't work well.

If you want to go cheap. Use a trashcan as a sump ( HDPE sump crocks from HD http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pro...10d43e_300.jpg work a little better ) and fill it with 2 cubic feet of kaldnes http://pentairaes.com/kaldnes-media.html , and add some airstones to agitate the media. That will cover your bio-filtration. If you place the skimmer on top of the trashcan with holes in the lid, any overflow lands in the can. Use a magdrive pump for your return.

As for a different forum for sharks. Out of respect to RC I will refrain from answering. If you do a web search, you should find one.


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Old 05/04/2014, 07:25 AM   #22
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Yeah, I'll second the bead/sand filters.
I'm not super excited about Aqua as a brand, but there are many others you can choose from and get a quality product at a good price. More or less they are pool filters. Also check Aquatic Eco Systems for similar units.

As for a skimmer, a properly sized skimmer set up right won't over flow once set. In sump isn't a bad thing to do if you are worried.

It sounds like you have a great plan laid out for the species you are planning to keep. I applaud your efforts to do it right the first time.


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Old 05/05/2014, 05:45 PM   #23
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I just spent two hours on the phone with Jeff from life reef systems about going with a wet dry filter over the bead filters. Anyone have any experience with his systems?


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Old 05/06/2014, 11:18 AM   #24
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Wet drys are good for biological filtration on systems with small loads, but on a tank that will have messy eaters like sharks, I prefer to focus on mechanical filtration to remove the waste prior to it feeding into the nitrogen cycle.


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Old 05/06/2014, 11:34 AM   #25
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I have many in-line tanks, which in other terms could be considered a bunch of in-line sumps like you are thinking of doing. They are great in that I can disperse LR, Macro and Turf algaes, Mangroves, and small reef fish throughout these, as well. Now that the entire system is very mature, the Bacterial-Plankton produced by Bio-pellets, and high flow in all of the refuge-tanks has led to giant Live Sponges reproducing. I believe these Live Sponges to be the best Mechanical/Micron Filters. EDIT**** Of course one cannot rely on this alone, and the Sand/Bead filters are awesome! +1

As for a protein skimmer, IME, I would use one on any tank, whether the aquarium is small or tremendous.

When i watch the levels of Dissolved Oxygen, ORP and PH, through the Apex graphs on its firmware, all of these levels are subject to big changes when my skimmer is Off or On. I had to replace the high pressure pump that runs my big skimmer, a few weeks ago. While i was without pump for roughly 2-3 days prior to installing the new Iwaki, all of those levels, especially DO and ORP, plummeted.

So in my system, the Protein Skimmer is of crucial value in oxygenating the water. And that's with a ton of water flow, a decent amount of surface agitation throughout , a surface area of well over 140 square feet, and other oxygen increasing methods, already in place.

So I would say definitely to hooking up an appropriately sized Skimmer!

+1 with Alprazo, Zoodiver-
LR in with the Sharks, or in-sump, will become filled with detritus and then be of no use to filtration, specifically Biological. When the surface is covered in detritus and/or algae, it clogs the pours and blocks any surface are from being populated by beneficial bacteria. I find myself, in the tanks adjacent to the shark pond, using a Mag 5 or similar submersible pump, to blast the liverock with, with Filter Socks in key places, to clear any detritus that has settled on the LR. I catch it in the Socks, then remove those Socks immediately and replace them with clean ones.

Sorry this got so long... Good luck with the build!


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