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Old 09-26-2017, 05:06 AM
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Default Reef Tank DIY - For Dummies

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. 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).

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.
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philg3 View Post
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

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Old 09-30-2017, 07:28 PM
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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?



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

Thanks!
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:46 PM
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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.

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Old 10-01-2017, 12:37 AM
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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
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:04 AM
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I finally have baffles in my sump! I went with a simple design and the husband did a pretty decent job with the silicone.



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
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:12 AM
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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?
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:12 AM
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Any idea how much shipping is with them Warren?
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:45 PM
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This thread is awesome Dash! I love the photo commentary!
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:16 AM
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Thanks Myka!

DKoKoMan, I could’ve sworn you already had a tank build thread...went to check & it was about your upgrade to the 150. Good grief, is this going to be an annual thing?
Hope everything went well. Whoa 305 gallons! Would love to see that. Yeah put some photos up!
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