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Discussion Starter #1
Should I drill 2 holes and bring water in and out using bulkheads or should I just run the tube through some 1.5 inch pvc covered in spray foam to cover but can still remove the actual tubing for the pump?

I'm leaning towards the bulk heads as it will be easier to hide and won't have things popping out the top of the tank.

How hard is it to install and cut through the glass without breaking or shattering the tank?

Justin
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Drilling through glass with some diamond hole saws is easy. Turn the tank so you are drilling down. Start on an angle until you get a little groove made, then slowly straighten out the drill as the groove starts to form a circle. You’ll have to hold the drill very steady as you make the first scratches/groove. That is the hardest part. Go slow in the beginning so the bit doesn’t jump and scratch the glass. Keep the area wet with some water. No need to spin super fast or push hard. Slow speed, water, use the weight of the drill for pressure. I tape the underside with masking tape to catch the piece I drilled out and any glass dust/water slurry that goes through the hole.


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Discussion Starter #3
So you are suggesting doing the hulk heads. Do you have any that you suggest getting and installing? The tubing for my pump is either 5/8 or 3/4 ID.
 

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How high up off the base should I drill the holes for the bulk heads?
Based on my reading and advice the recommendation is approx 1" or so above the bottom edge. Just be sure to take into account the gaskets/and nuts that will screw on for a watertight seal as some of these need more clearance than others. This measurement should leave sufficient space, and is also enough glass to help reduce any chance at breakage (go to close to edge it will split off/crack). Drilling approx 1" up will allow up to a 1" layer of standing water, which for a few reasons explained to me is actually beneficial.

Courtesy of Jragg this layer:
  • Helps buffer humidity in the event of a mist head failure (especially if out of town)
  • Could give some plants access to more water if needed (which they then release into the tank's atmosphere).
  • Helps regulate temperature swings somewhat - especially downward swings.
You just want to make sure the standing water does not raise high enough to start wicking right back into the substrate layers above.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. I am probably just going to go with the running the smaller tubing through a 1.5 inch pvc conduit and encase in spray foam to prevent cutting in thr glass. Seems easier and less can go wrong. Plus I will have the plumbing at the top of the tank already for when I release back though either a water fall or drip wall
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Depends on what you are doing. Is this a shallow pond or the majority of the tank going to be water? If a shallow pond then once you have the bulkheads you can figure out how close to the bottom they can go, but at least 1.25 inches from the edge. If going to be a a large water area you will want it higher up to create better flow.
 

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Personally I'd go for the drilling / bulkheads and not have all that ugly shit coming and going through your viewing plane. At least for the drain / control elevation. It really is trivially easy to drill glass tanks.

So you are suggesting doing the hulk heads. Do you have any that you suggest getting and installing? The tubing for my pump is either 5/8 or 3/4 ID.
OK that measurement is a detail that really matters. I have found this vendor exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful. Great customer service and they sell anything and everything you'd need. Call, don't write, and have the pump or its box handy so they can get you set up with the right size bulkheads and if necessary any other fittings, adapters, or tubing:
Pentair customer service

A couple additions or some detail to what others have already provided:
...Turn the tank so you are drilling down. ... Keep the area wet with some water. ... I tape the underside with masking tape to catch the piece I drilled out and any glass dust/water slurry that goes through the hole.
It is way easier to keep a horizontal piece of glass wet and cool, than a vertical surface. On a big heavy tank drilling on the vertical is fine, but you need to keep a little flow of water going over the grinding surface. I prefer to do this outside, on my driveway - it's messy. Whereas on a horizontal plane, you can just make a "pond". I use a ring of modeling clay and a few ounces of water.

You can either work from the outside of the tank or the inside. I prefer working from the outside for two reasons. First, the less important one - you get a little bit of tearout or roughness / sharpness along the cut edge, but only on the side opposite where you're drilling from (very similar to cutting holes in wood). I prefer this roughness be on the inside of the tank. You can easily sand this out, and regardless it'll be covered by the bulkhead hardware, but I still prefer this to be on the inside. Second, the more important one - but I guess it's really two. It's less awkward physically, and the tank helps catch any mess. I put a junky towel in there, and atop that I set a bucket or other water-catcher. You can definitely use a piece of tape to hold the glass circle up, which helps reduce that tear-out I mentioned (as does going slow at the end), but I find it easier to just let the water pour into a bucket than to daub it (and all the powdered glass) out of my "pond". Any that fails to get itself into the bucket, is absorbed by the towel. Easy peasy.

And finally - you haven't provided any info about what it is you're trying to accomplish. Nothing. So it's hard to make any informed or intelligent suggestions about how high to drill the inflow, or even if that's what would be best. Or any other details that might be important / useful, like having a sump & putting a gated wye on your inflow tubing, to regulate the violence of flow back into the tank. I'm just assuming you have a canister filter and not just a pump, since you framed all this as a "water filtration question". And a canister filter with either 5/8 (ugh) or 3/4 tubing is going to be fairly beasty - 300gph or so most likely. Raging rapids time. Anyway - all this has been covered ad nauseum here on DB, just use the search feature if you don't feel like a conversation.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for the very lengthy reply. I appreciate the help and the suggestions as far as where to go and get the stuff I may need. I ended up getting a Cascade CCF1UL canister filter that pumps at 115 GPH. I figured that the most water I would have would be roughly 30 gallons and anything larger would be too much water flow and too powerful for my intended purpose.


This is the design that I am going to do, and I think that the conduit going from the left side for the return water and the supply on the right side starting at the top and flowing down a bank into the water on the right side will work. The bulkheads after thinking about it more would be nice but are not needed to get what I am looking for. I also am not sure if it is tempered glass or not, and I have seen a lot about not cutting into tempered, it is a TopFin 75 gallon tank. The whole background will be done with either more eggcrate with GS or with some foam insulation sheets and span the entire back wall from top to bottom with a few ledges and possibly pots. I do have a few pieces of drift wood coming in tomorrow evening that I will get roughly placed in that may change the position of the "island" and the conduit but it should be very easy to hide the conduit behind the GS.

Again I greatly appreciate all of you guys help, this is my first build and I am trying to get up to speed on everything, so I do appreciate the over explanations and advice.
 

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Cool. Well, get after it and let the learning begin! (Also just FYI it's exceedingly unlikely the tank is tempered.)

good luck, have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am having a blast so far. Also a little frustrated just me getting in my head lol

For thr background would you suggest doing egg crate and gs or do silicone with substrate on top of it?

The anoles that will inhabit the land like to climb so I'm leaning more towards the gs but will it look good and give plants somewhere to grow?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
You can either work from the outside of the tank or the inside. I prefer working from the outside for two reasons. First, the less important one - you get a little bit of tearout or roughness / sharpness along the cut edge, but only on the side opposite where you're drilling from (very similar to cutting holes in wood). I prefer this roughness be on the inside of the tank. You can easily sand this out, and regardless it'll be covered by the bulkhead hardware, but I still prefer this to be on the inside. Second, the more important one - but I guess it's really two. It's less awkward physically, and the tank helps catch any mess. I put a junky towel in there, and atop that I set a bucket or other water-catcher. You can definitely use a piece of tape to hold the glass circle up, which helps reduce that tear-out I mentioned (as does going slow at the end), but I find it easier to just let the water pour into a bucket than to daub it (and all the powdered glass) out of my "pond". Any that fails to get itself into the bucket, is absorbed by the towel. Easy peasy.

And finally - you haven't provided any info about what it is you're trying to accomplish. Nothing. So it's hard to make any informed or intelligent suggestions about how high to drill the inflow, or even if that's what would be best.

You have convinced me to cut into the glass and put the bulk heads, it will be nicer looking and I can use some drift wood on the land mass as a center piece and not the pvc conduit. Thank you. After the holidays I will call the company you suggested and give them some info and get the right size bulk head ordered.

You said I did not give the proper dimensions for you to help decide on height for the bulk heads. I am going to have roughly 5.5" of water in the tank. I am going to have roughly 10 gallons of surface water in the tank, this doe not include the water that is going to be under the land structure that also will have the aqua balls under it.

I am thinking the bulk heads will need to be 1.5" holes and mid way in the water will put the center of the hole roughly 2 inches above the bottom. The intake and the return for the filter/pump will be on opposite sides of the setup, does this placement sound about right?

Again thank you very much!
 

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I'm glad you're gonna go for the bulkheads. I truly believe you will be more long-term satisfied for having done that. Also realize, you can always cut a little scrap of glass and cover the hole, if in a future use of this tank you don't want a hole there.

You said I did not give the proper dimensions for you to help decide on height for the bulk heads.
That is not quite my recollection; I recall you stating your intention to have 6 inches of water in there. It was the lack of any other context that precluded feedback on the elevation of your return flow above your pool-water level. Now that you've mentioned anoles, I wonder why you want to make a paludarium instead of using the floor space for terrestrial attack / foraging from elevated perches. Regardless I would certainly still have a drain (and a false bottom or drainage layer), as the anoles I know are rather "leaky" creatures and benefit from adequate humidity. They are also drop-drinkers so will require misting or better yet something that puts out bigger droplets. Bottom line, you'll be needing to add quite a bit of water to that tank. If you don't have a drain you might find a nasty wet stinky substrate some day.

For thr background would you suggest doing egg crate and gs or do silicone with substrate on top of it?
I guess I'd start by suggesting you don't even need a background. What you need is branches and vines of the appropriate diameter and roughness / climbability. If you really want a background I'd suggest making one that supports or incorporates thicker vines and thinner branches. To me the ideal would be a cracked-cork mosaic using small cork bits (siliconed to the rear and maybe part of the sides) and lots of packed moss between the cork bits. Something like Pothos, if you can stand the pruning, would be a great plant for anoles. It gets thick stems if it's happy, and there's a bit of length between each leaf. Also the big leaves hold many water drops and thus offer great drinking opportunities. You could silicone in a bunch of thin branches to the glass back and sides, before doing the cork. Thin stuff rots fast so if you can, find something rot resistant. Or don't even use silicone, just install the branches after the cork is in, and use packed moss to hold the branches in place until their ends rot and you need to replace (or trim and move) them.

Anyway, there's some more to consider. Anoles are grossly under-rated IMO. They also aren't the easiest pets, at all, requiring good light and ventilation but also high humidity. Plenty of space, quite a bit of food in good variety. But they are very active and fun to watch. And really pretty, it's easy to forget just how lovely they are. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Originally I was going to make this tank for a water drsgon hut quickly realized how large they get and decided against it. I want the water for the clean up crew of fiddler crab and shrimp and guppies and just to make a hold statement with both aquatic and terrestrial life. Plus having the large amount of water will inevitably bring the humidity level up in the tank. I will most likely install a mistking system with 2 nozzles once I get the basic setup done.

But the bulk heads due to the 6 inch water level I should be somewhere around half way below the water level and be safe correct?
 

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But the bulk heads due to the 6 inch water level I should be somewhere around half way below the water level and be safe correct?
I'm interpreting this to mean you're asking if you should drill the hole for the input line at 3". (We have already covered the drain height - I'd just put that right where you want the water level to be, and let gravity do its thing.)

If I am interpreting you right - there's no damn way I would do that. Any time the power goes out, for any reason (e.g. changing or cleaning filter media in the canister filter; or, argh fuck the power just went out etc etc) the water in the tank is going to want to drain down to this level. And suck out fish or whatever too. I would drill the 2 holes at exactly the same height, as far apart as possible to reduce the amount of stagnant / still areas to a bare minimum. But also not have a bunch of splashing. Splashing is way over-rated. Ha ha.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So put the bulkheads at the water level? Won't this pull in air as well as water? It's basically a closed loop though so how would the water level drain down during a power outage? I plan on putting then in the 90 degree with the filter hitting just above the water level.

I am for sure going to call thr company and talk to them to ensure I get the right parts. The cascade 500 does have some adjustments for the push and pull flow on the heads so that will help with splashing. I don't want splashing lol

Thank you again for your help, you are making this much easier for me.
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So put the bulkheads at the water level? Won't this pull in air as well as water? It's basically a closed loop though so how would the water level drain down during a power outage? ...
Ah, I guess I assumed you'd be draining into a reservoir of some sort. From what you write, it looks like your intention is to connect the viv to the canister filter with a pair of hoses, and nothing else in between.

I strongly recommend you just gravity-drain from the viv down into a reservoir - say, a 10-gallon aquarium, or whatever is big enough to hold the entire system-volume of water - and then suck out of that with the canister filter. And push from the canister back into the viv.

You may wonder why. Here are some reasons:
  • it makes it way easier to do plumbing-system maintenance
  • it makes it easier to do water-quality maintenance
  • (related, but not duplicative) it allows a larger system water volume, and facilitates partial water changes
  • it facilitates running the canister at higher flows (which is what it "wants" to do), instead of forcing you to crank the output way down - I think this probably helps the machine last longer
  • the reservoir can also be a good place to grow / grow out / propagate some aquatic or emersed plants for the viv above
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well I attempted and could not get the system to work with some water in there so I decided to just throw a sump pump filter in thr tank to take care of it. The pulp will be here tomorrow I may use it for a water feature but unsure of that right now. This is where I am with thr tank.
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This is the plumbing setup that I could not get working. Not sure if there was too much piping or the pump wasn't strong enough or what. But I tried for hours to get it working and gave up.
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