The lights are four Stasun 6500k 30w LED floodlights, they are about 25 dollars a piece and create an awesome shimmer effect. I don't have plans for planting this tank, but if I do, I think they should provide enough lumens for some low to medium light plants.
After I had the sump completed, I plumbed it together. The tank has 2 overflow boxes and each box had 2 holes drilled in the bottom, one for a drain and one for a return. The drains are 1" durso standpipes run through the bulkhead, directly into a union, the union then has a 90 degree elbow (I would have prefered a 1" 90 sweep here, but couldn't find them that were really expensive) and then a unioned ball valve, then barbed fittings to braided vinyl tubing, back into elbows into 100 micron filter socks on the left side of the sump.
My best advice here is it is definitely worth it to buy unions and unioned ball (or gate) valves. They add some cost to the plumbing, but the ability to take them apart for modifications, cleaning and moving make them super handy.
The first section of the sump is for mechanical, I added some sponges and poly-fil (not pictured) to help with the extra debris from the sand I added. but once the tank is established, I will likely just use the socks.
The middle section of the sump is bio-filtration by way of 6 gallons of K1 kaldness biomedia, it occupies an approximate 11 gallon section of the sump. It is currently being kept in motion by a Whisper 300 air pump, but It isn't quite doing the job at the moment. I don't know if this is because the system is only a week old and the biomedia doesn't have enough beneficial bacteria on it to keep it suspended, or if I don't have enough propulsion to keep it all agitated. I am going to give it another couple weeks while the system cycles and see if it improves, if not I may have to add a powerhead to keep the media in a fluidized state.
The pumps that return the water from the sump back into the main tank are two Jebao DCP 6500lph pumps. This was the most expensive element of the setup. I was debating using 1 pump, but some sound advice I got was to do 2 pumps, and run them each at 50-60%. They will operate more quietly, and if (when) one fails, you can turn up the remaining pump to get you by until a replacement can be installed.
The returns are 3/4" PVC with union ball valves, 3/4" vinyl tubing, back to 3/4" PVC through the bulkheads and Loc-line returns into the main section of the display tank.
Pro Tip: Vinyl Tubing is a pain to work with because it holds its shape like crazy when it it room temp or cooler. The way I found to warm it to make it more pliable (after many failed methods) was to throw it in the clothes dryer with some towels to dampen the noise of vinyl tubing banging around as it tumbles. Only takes 10 minutes or so to get it nice and soft. Your spouse will look at you funny, this is ok.
Here is a picture of the tank being filled. It was nerve wracking and exciting:
Next I added some sand and driftwood. In the past I have used pool filter sand from a pool supply store, and it was really clean, and required no rinsing. For this project I bought some pool filter sand from a local hardware store. Boy was it dirty....
12 hours later.....
I replaced the filter socks after 24 hours, and then again about 48 hours later. I purchased 8 socks, and wash the dirty ones with the laundry. The manufacturer recommended rinsing and wringing them out multiple times before using. Oddly enough, so far they seem to trap much more after being washed in the laundry as well.
It took about 5 days for the driftwood to soak and sink. The driftwood I had that sat dry during the move developed a white fuzzy moldy substance which I have seen in the past and usually clears up after a few days.
I added a bunch more river rock, smaller stones, and pea gravel to give a natural aquascape:
Which brings us to today. The tank is still in the BB cycle, and I would like to find a cool way of blocking/masking the light to create some natural shadows and pillars of light. I will also likely add some Indian Almond leaves or Oak leaves to litter the bottom.
I am looking forward to catching natives once the tank is cycled and the weather cooperates. I am new to dipnetting and seines, so that will be an interesting learning curve.
I have also purchased some microfishing gear, and look forward to catching as many of this tanks inhabitants on (tiny) hook and line as I can.
Thanks again to my patient wife and everyone who has given me pointers along the way. I am the type to plan and plan and plan and never get around to the actual execution. Being able to have a community of support made this project a reality.
The scape is awesome! Blacking everything out too is really nice. I dig the drift wood breaking through diagonally like this too!
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