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Dash
09-26-2017, 06:06 AM
Hi all,
I've been stalling on my tank upgrade because I'm feeling way out of my depth (see what I did there), and I've been hesitant to start a build thread here because you're all so intimidating to a newbie like me. :mrgreen: Anyway, I thought perhaps others out there like me would be interested in something like this instead of the amazing tank builds you usually see here, so I'm taking the big leap forward.

My 75-gal tank will be 2 years old this November. I bought 2 green spotted puffers that the LFS told me were freshwater, and long story short, eventually ended up buying a used tank on CL and setting up a SW tank for them with the help of some nice folks on the Puffer Forum. I learned about live rock and mixing salt, and now I think I'm hooked. My current set-up is pretty medieval. All second-hand stuff except for the lights. No sump, hob Remora skimmer, SB Reef lights. I do a 16-gal water change once a month with buckets, and manually top off water twice a day. I do not use RODI water. (Please don't hate me).

My fish in order of when they were added: 2 green spotted puffers, YWG+shrimp pair, ocellaris clown pair, long nose hawkfish, mandarin, tail spot blenny, flame hawkfish.
Coral...a bit of everything including RBTAs (a lot of 'em), zoas, and some lps & sps.

I've been having a real blast thus far and luckily have all my original livestock, except for a lawnmower blenny who wouldn't eat and a long-nose hawkfish that jumped (RIP Lenny & Fergus:cry:).

However, I know my skimmer is barely able to keep up, I need to learn about dosing, and I'd like to set up a sump so I can have a refugium to increase pod population (for future girlfriend for my mandarin).

*note: apologies for crummy iphone pics



My immediate hurdle - I have no idea how to plumb this.

Dash
09-27-2017, 05:28 AM
My current tank:
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4426/37344077181_bf2a20f18b_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/YTYa6F)

The tank I bought: 72 x 18 x 18
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4390/37297147566_b08551daf0_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/YPPCyo)

It came with a stand. My husband stripped and reinforced it (he's reasonably handy and owns power tools haha).
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4431/36635014974_b295fc567a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/XPj2Bd)


My immediate hurdle - I have no idea how to plumb this.

Dash
09-27-2017, 05:34 AM
Here is how it was originally plumbed:
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4395/23492856088_348404cc83_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/BMZ2CU)https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4363/23492856018_7afea2f2a7_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/BMZ2BG)

Before I go ahead and try to duplicate this, any thoughts on whether I should change anything? Any improvements I can make?

Here is the sump that came with the tank: 36 x 14 x 18
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4434/37087859910_781ff97f3a_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/YvjYCw)

It has no baffles (new term I just learned) so I would like to put some in and have 3 compartments. Kinda like this except the other way around (not my photo):
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4507/37088527390_67d38ab777_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Yvop3N)

So, I'm thinking, from left to right: skimmer, then refugium, then return.

Questions:
- I would like pipes to be black instead of white as they will be somewhat visible if tank is viewed from the sides. Is it better to paint or buy black pipes? I can order from the US as I shop online frequently.
- glass baffles for glass sump, right? Where is a good place to buy the glass?

Any tips, info would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks!

Dash
09-27-2017, 05:35 AM
Thanks for your help Wardog. Sorry for all the clutter:redface:

philg3
09-27-2017, 07:02 PM
It's not a huge deal, but since you're starting from scratch I would do

Filter Socks > Refugium > Skimmer > Return.

Refugium's work better when placed in front of the Skimmer, or even Parallel to the Skimmer because a lot of the nutrients that the refugium uses to grow would be "skimmed" out if the skimmer was placed in front. Obviously the skimmer won't skim out everything, but if we're going with best practice, try and feed the refugium as much good nutrients (and pods!) from the display as possible, and then let the skimmer pick up whats left over.

Some people even T off the overflow so that the water heading to the refugium doesn't go through the filter socks. This method is to save some of those pods that are coming from the display that would otherwise be caught in the filter socks and get thrown away. Check out some of the higher end manufactured sumps from Trigger and Eshopps to get ideas for layout.

For making baffles, I had good success just going to a local glass shop and having them cut me the glass to the correct size. Just make sure you get aquarium safe silicon and be generous - remember that bubble traps are your friend.

Dash
09-28-2017, 06:32 PM
Thanks for your input philg3. There seems to be a bit of a discussion about this, and I'm going to start taking notes since my head is swirling with info. Is the layout dependent on what the refugium is mainly for, ie nutrient export or pod farm? For me, I want a place to increase pod population. I was lucky enough to get great live rock that a local reefer had for more than 10 years. My tank never had a cycle, haven't had nuisance algae issues and it's supported my mandarin for a year. However, I'd like to get a mate for my mandarin and possibly pipe fish, so my aim is to establish a pod haven.

So much food for thought. I'm finding it hard to make any decisions, hence my new tank has been sitting since June:confused:

philg3
09-28-2017, 09:19 PM
If the goal is to provide pods to the aquarium, you just have to think about it as a "refuge" where there is slower flow and no predators. Rock rubble and Chaeto will give them a place to hide and the slower flow will help them from getting sucked away into the display before they have a chance to breed.

I attached a Diagram similar to the way I had a sump setup years ago. You put the Refugium on the other side of the return pump, so both the skimmer chamber and refugium empty into the return section separately from either side. You can either T off the overflow like on the diagram, or T off the return pump back into the refugium. Either way put a ball valve after the T and you can slow down the flow into the refugium while still having a high turnover through the skimmer and the rest of your filtration equipment.

Dash
09-29-2017, 04:42 PM
Thanks for the diagram. Really helps as it's hard for me to visualize these things

duncangweller
09-29-2017, 07:57 PM
If the goal is to provide pods to the aquarium, you just have to think about it as a "refuge" where there is slower flow and no predators. Rock rubble and Chaeto will give them a place to hide and the slower flow will help them from getting sucked away into the display before they have a chance to breed.

I attached a Diagram similar to the way I had a sump setup years ago. You put the Refugium on the other side of the return pump, so both the skimmer chamber and refugium empty into the return section separately from either side. You can either T off the overflow like on the diagram, or T off the return pump back into the refugium. Either way put a ball valve after the T and you can slow down the flow into the refugium while still having a high turnover through the skimmer and the rest of your filtration equipment.That's exactly how I did my sump way back when. Works great for pods and you can empty the pods from the filter socks into the fuge too.

Every now and then a few pods will leave the refugium, get sucked up by the return pump and go straight into the mouth of a hungry fish in the display. It works great!

The melevs reef website also has an excellent section on sump design if you need any more inspiration.

Dunc

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Dash
09-30-2017, 08:28 PM
Ok thanks, this sump layout might work out for me - thanks!

How much room should I allot for the return compartment? I thought it would be small as it only accommodates the pump but then I read for various reasons it's sometimes the biggest. I'd like the refugium to be a good size though.

Question: Is there a way to remove the old plumbing going into the tank? Here's the old return with the plumbing sawed off. Is it in there for good, and we have to attach new pipe to it, or is there a way to get it off?

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4384/37414896851_7a2742cdaa_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Z1e8jt)

Same question for the other 2 pipes. I guess you can see it was a Herbie system in the far corner.

Thanks!

duncangweller
09-30-2017, 11:46 PM
I always liked a bigger return section. That way there is a bit more forgiveness as far as having to top it up all the time goes.

The refugium section doesn't need to be that big, yeah it would be nice to have a whole other tank as a refugium but not entirely necessary.

Just saw through the bulkhead and then buy new ones for the new plumbing.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Dash
10-01-2017, 01:37 AM
We'd like to put in a new bulkhead but it looks like it's glued in on the other side. I don't know if we can remove it:neutral:

Dash
11-13-2017, 06:04 AM
I finally have baffles in my sump! :happy: I went with a simple design and the husband did a pretty decent job with the silicone.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4567/26604567689_36127a07ef_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/GwXn5V)

I did a water test on both the main tank and the sump, and all is well. Whew! I have to admit I was nervous filling up the big tank in the house. It was quite the job emptying it out afterward.

Now onto the plumbing. Went to JL and they had no 1.5" bulkheads in stock and no ETA for pending shipments. Then I couldn't find any pvc fittings at Home Depot - what? I thought they have everything. Will check out some other places this week.
Now I can move on to the plumbing, which is my

WarDog
11-13-2017, 07:12 AM
Nice work on the sump! Did you order black pipe yet? You can get coloured pvc pipe from www.formufit.com. They supply pipe to BRS and its much cheaper to order straight from them. As far as 1.5 " bulkheads, you might have to order from BRS. A little bit of a hassle with the crappy exchange rate and shipping but what can you do?

kyl
11-13-2017, 08:12 AM
Any idea how much shipping is with them Warren?

patpare
11-13-2017, 07:13 PM
If I was to order,with my order being 49$ U.S shipping is 45 $ U.S

WarDog
11-13-2017, 07:26 PM
It's just the nature of the beast with shipping. You are either willing to pay or not for a specific item. Having a PO box in Blaine can also help reduce the cost.

I would not paint pvc pipe. It always chips at some point.

Dash
11-13-2017, 11:27 PM
I order a fair amount of stuff online (pick up in Blaine) but having said that, after mooning over all the pretty colours, I decided to stick to something that's a bit of a myth in this hobby - a budget. I think I'll just paint the pipes black. No one will ever see them behind the tank and I can use the $$ towards something else (like coral!). Sigh...it's a compromise.

I do want to change this though...

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4543/38346159856_32dedf711e_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/21qw6nb)

The white part is really bugging me. Not sure what it's called, but I'll have to take out the bulkhead as it's glued in.

Tigweldpro
11-14-2017, 12:22 AM
Yes bulkheads with threads on both sides are best. unless your using slip on the inside and not gluing your standpipe or elbow. If you use slip glued on the outside and the rubber seal ring needs replacing you have to replace that whole section of plumbing.
https://i.imgur.com/cNWRUGUl.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/Atl4umvl.jpg
And you wont have the cheesy white slip x thread adapter inside the tank

Dash
11-14-2017, 04:02 AM
Ok thanks for the info. I've been trying to read up on this stuff but it's hard to get a lot of detail. It's a bit of a slog going thru this learning curve but it's a real benefit to get a better understanding of how the tank runs. I'm trying to sit through the BRS 52 Weeks of Reefing, and they did mention that it's best you're able to take stuff apart for maintenance.

Frogger
11-14-2017, 05:43 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about the white coupling on the inside of the tank. Within a couple months it will be covered in Coralline algae and it will look the same as the black at that time.

Dash
12-03-2017, 06:05 AM
I picked up my Black Friday skimmer purchase today! Kinda excited as this is the nicest thing I've bought for my tank. The packaging was pretty slick.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4529/38076700294_5a7aea5527.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/211H3qE)
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4584/23928496857_bb1064c354.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CstNsD)

I really like it:) - clean lines and very solid construction. Love how smoothly the cup screws in. Well, it looks nice anyway; I'll have to wait a bit to find out how it works. I didn't want to finish up the plumbing until I was sure that it would fit, so that should be done sometime this week.

Dash
12-11-2017, 12:53 AM
Plumbing is done! We also put the top trim onto the stand so I can be sure it is all fitting nicely before the tank is filled and immoveable. I am not 100% sure that I should paint the stand black. Wondering if it will be too much of a huge black thing. However, I don't have any other furniture that is white in this room so that wouldn't look right either.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4534/38233724504_dc51affef9.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/21fzQfC)Untitled (https://flic.kr/p/21fzQfC) by Magdaline Chu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/153252787@N08/), on Flickr

No more ugly white connector!
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4686/38949712711_bdb6aa649c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/22kRsAT)Untitled (https://flic.kr/p/22kRsAT) by Magdaline Chu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/153252787@N08/), on Flickr

I'm not sure about the next step. I need to test if the pipes are water tight but if I fill the whole tank with water, I won't be able to push it back against the wall to its final spot. I was thinking I can just add enough water to overflow to have water drain into sump. Or is this not testing it properly?

WarDog
12-11-2017, 01:12 AM
Fill it with tap water to test everything running. Also test your sump volume when the return pump turns off. After testing, add some vinegar to help remove oils and such. Run for 1 or two days. Drain it all and then push it into final position.

Also, it looks like your main drain and emergency aren't low enough into your sump. Water is going to splash everywhere.

Dash
12-11-2017, 03:36 AM
Ok thanks. Guess I canít be lazy.

Yeah I havenít attached that piece yet as I was making sure the skimmer could get in easily. You think the emergency should be lower though? I thought it should be high so the splashing if it happens will be noisy

WarDog
12-11-2017, 05:06 AM
I had both below the water line in the sump. When set up properly, the main drain is dead silent. If and when the emergency is used you'll know it, as it makes a crap load of noise either way.

Dash
12-11-2017, 05:31 AM
Ok, thanks again. Iíll give it a go (she said nervously)

Dearth
12-11-2017, 09:04 AM
I am not 100% sure that I should paint the stand black. Wondering if it will be too much of a huge black thing. However, I don't have any other furniture that is white in this room so that wouldn't look right either.


If your worried about colour clash that is a relatively minor problem in the grand scheme of things I have seen many people use cloth or fabric skirting to hide the colours and equipment. Primary concern should be having a running tank and access to equipment under the tank.

Other than that your build looks awesome so far keep up the good work

Dash
12-12-2017, 04:03 PM
IT'S ALI-IVE!

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4540/25137873278_13c72ab40f.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/EimaWf)
Untitled (https://flic.kr/p/EimaWf) by Magdaline Chu (https://www.flickr.com/photos/153252787@N08/), on Flickr

The husband told me to stop procrastinating, so I finally put water into the tank. I still wasn't sure I understood it completely but once it was running, everything made sense. I re-read the entire GMA Herbie method basic guide again and understood it this time. It did show the that the two downspouts should be under the waterline (not sure how I missed that). The main line as I have it now is probably a bit too long (?) as it should be about 1/2" underwater I think. I left the emergency for now as it was good to see how it worked as I adjusted the valve. We turned off the pump and it was all good. My husband showed a lot of interest in playing around with the plumbing - he doesn't really care all that much about the livestock haha. He also looks forward to all the clutter being cleaned up.

I'm not really a religious person but I did say a little prayer before I went to bed. And lo, there was no deluge this morning.

So I added the vinegar and will let it run for the 2 days. Then some final adjustments, clean up the back, etc. When should I be testing the skimmer. It won't be working properly when there's nothing to skim, right?

Also, the sight of all that water in the tank made my husband think about insurance coverage. Any insight into this?

WarDog
12-12-2017, 05:32 PM
Main drain looks good. Definately bring the emergency below the rim of the sump. Running the skimmer now in the vinegar water will help get the manufacturing oils and dust off it. It will take a couple weeks to get it set properly once you introduce livestock. After you drain the tank don't worry too much about wiping down every last bit of vinegar water. Consider it your first carbon dose. If you speak to your insurance agent about additional protection, please share your findings with us. Not too many people do this.