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Comments? on stand and filter-Tank coming Sat.

Jan 4, 2006
I am looking for comments, suggestions, improvements on a stand and filter I am building. Below are photos of what I have so far.

The tank is a custom made glass 250 gal 48x48x25 with a single overflow with (4) 1.5 inch holes. (2) 1 1/2" durso standpipes and (2) 1 1/2" returns with siphon breaks. Doors are single full size lift-offs attached with magnet cabinet clasps and being finished this week. My cat is there to show scale, the octo is 3 feet long.
Click images to see larger versions.

The stand is all pressure treated 4x4 with 3/4 PT plywood on the top and bottom. We havent cut the top for the drill holes until the tank comes in to get them exact. The 4x4 is cut underneath for the holes and double supported to accomodate the thinner board (photo 5 & 6).

The filter is (3) 29 gallon tubs connected by 2" tubing. The raised center tub is for water changes and crisis overflow which can be removed with a cap on the inside and the union ball valve on the outside. The bio tower has just over 30 gallons of bio balls-3/5 dry for ammonia conversion and 2/5 wet for nitate conversion. Notice the height of the outlet on the bio tower to keep balls wet. Photo 7 shows the carbon chamber in the final tub which will be drilled with tons of holes and have carbon in a nylon so it is easy to replace.

Photo 8 is the protein skimmer. Turbo vortex 1004 verturi rated for 400 gallons. It just fits in the sump, but I have to move the removable bottom boards to get it in. It has a output tube for collection so I wont have to remove the boards to drain it. I plan on filling the bottom compartment under the boards with beach towels for added safety incase of a leak.

Photo 4 is the Dolphin 2700 Ampmaster pump. I will plumb with flex pvc and output it's 2" pipe split for (2) 1 1/2" returns. Back will be left open for heat disapation, but the pump is supposed to be very low heat. Heavy duty marine seal on the pump.

Prefilter is the covered thin tub over the bio tower (photo 3) and with foam and drilled with tons of holes to make a drip plate.

I would like to make a DIY auto water leveler with a 5 gallon closed tank, but dont seem to have room.

Any ideas?


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my experiences with auto water levelers have been all bad...could be due to the hard water I work with here...but they always seem to freeze up and flood.
The system looks good. You might have to replace those tubs from time to time, depending on how much uv they receive, the plastic degrades eventually, but it should work for a year or two.
When you drill the holes through the plywood, make sure to have them about 1/2-3/4 of an inch larger than the pipe, to allow for some movement. (you probably already knew this...just covering bases)
That should be one heck of a nice octo tank ! Looking forward to more pics when the tank arrives.

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah I will have to have movement -you're right. I had designed the tubs to have the bio filter right under the standpipes but had to move it to fit the added support for the drill holes knockout. I didnt figure that out until it was built. I am looking for any and all input, I have been so into designing this-I can't see the little details that could mess me up.

I don't plan on having any UV under there after I put up the doors. So hopefully the tubs will last.

Will I have enough dissolved oxygen from the protein skimmer in the third tank and the wet/dry or should I add something on the output to add dissolved oxygen? I plan on flowing 4-8x the tank a hour.

Does anyone know the flow rate of a 2" pipe that will go between the tubs? That is my major concern, I may have to add a second pipe between the first and third tub for added flow.

Looks good! Nice and thought out!..

A couple things that might be of concern..

-You mention that the skimmer has an output tube, so you wont have to drain it manually. Will you be able to clean the collection cup out? It will eventually fill with so much 'gunk' that youll need to clean it every week or two.

-Ive not much experience with bio balls, but do they need to be cleaned ever? Looks pretty tight in there once the doors are on..

Those are the only things that come to mind, but otherwise, the setup looks great! Id love to have a big square tank!
I would be a little worried about the plastic bins cracking (eventually). Although maybe they won't degrade if they are not exposed to any sunlight or other UV. They seem a little thin... Just my :twocents: I used similar plastic bins as temporary touch tanks while I was teaching. They last about a year before self-destructing.
The bins break down faster in sunlight or uv exposure, but they will normally last a year or two in saltwater...as long as you have backups ready, you should be o.k.
A 2" drain should be just fine, if not too much...you might want to put a plastic gate valve on it, to fine tune the torrent !
Looks fantastic! I can't wait to see the pics of it up and running.

I am sure that the protien skimmer will provide plenty of O2 if it's a sufficient skimmer, you could also try a spray bar over something, but I'm sure you don't want to add yet more noise.
Tank is in... GOD was it heavy! I had no idea, good thing the stand can handle it.

The told me AFTER I got it I have to wait 3-4 weeks to let the silicone cure to be sure it can hold all the water weight.

So - more waiting.

In the mean time I am plumbing the filter and installing the doors.

Thanks everyone for all the input.
Very cool, thats going to be some tank! Don't forget to add something under the tank, between the glass and plywood for even support. I am using the foam stuff they sell for under floating hardwood floors. Home Depot gave me scraps as I only needed 3' x3'. Also maybe put some of the foam under the stand to protect the nice wood floor that is already there. I am anxious (as are you no doubt) to see the completed tank/stand filled with water. Job well done!
Tank was made by Glasscages.com. I don't think that they are used to custom made stuff-they seemed to be a little over thier head with me.

I wanted a single heavy glass door on the front and back of the tank. Heavy enough to keep a big octo in, but they kept I saying I would want it smaller to sprinkle fish food easy. They did what they wanted. I got 4 doors, the glass was heavy enough (3/8) but the braces (which I didnt want) made the tightly fitting custom overflow cover have too big of a gap.

I now have to retrofit the glass top with extra glass to make up the thickness difference.

I also am replacing the double doors on the front with a single large door (40 x 13) of 1/4 inch glass that should be heavy enough to hold him in.

They also UPSed me the wrong size bulkheads after they forgot them in the initial shipment.

I can't say that I would recommend them, but maybe I'll feel different when I'm not staring at a empty tank.

I appled putty to the countersunk carraige bolt holes and will sand them this weekend. I think I will use tan fleckstone to paint the whole stand after the doors are on.


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Having the lid glass come down flush on the top of the overflow is a great idea for octo-proofing. My only worry would be the slots then might not be wide enough to handle all of the flow and you may have to cut more?

Nice zebra.

I figured I can only find out about the slots is when I fill it with water. The cover is removable and I can dremel them wider or add a screen if they get too large.

I have 3/4 inch foam I got from Home Depot, that will be added under the tank before I fill it. It is required by the manufacturer for the warranty.

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