planning phase of a new 180 tank ???

Discussion in 'DIY' started by cracker, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Greetings, A new 180 is in the works and lot's of planning also ! So many variables to consider. I want to plan this install with the best overall circulation, ease of maintenance etc. This means from the bottom of the stand to the ceiling where the lights hang and everything in between! Lot's of variables! I'd appreciate op's on many aspects as they comes along. So where do I start?
    There are two things I do know for sure No reef ready tank. I will install a herbie bean type overflow.. No diy coast to coast however. I will purchase a Synergy Ghost overflow. My 1st variable I'm thinking about is placement of this overflow somewhere along the back of the tank. I want to place it offset to right or left of center. This will make plumping a lot easier and keep the drops as short and vertical as possible.
    So If I place this overflow well to one side . Will it hinder the efficiency of surface skimming ? Where would You place the return line or lines? Thanks for sharing any Op's on this.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
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  2. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    A project this big needs a lot of planning. It's also the sort of thing you only want to do the actual construction once.

    I recommend concentrating on the tank location and placement, and the filtration system at first because these are the most difficult to change at a later time. Here are a few things I have found over the years.

    Make sure you have plenty of access from all sides of the system. You often need to get around the back. If you can place the tank about 18 to 24 inches from the wall.

    Make sure you can remove any sumps, refugiums, skimmers, pumps and so on from where ever you mount them. You'll need to do this for service. All too often someone puts a sump into the stand by dropping it through the top of the stand. Once the tank is placed on top, the sump is trapped. If they later need to remove the sump, it means tearing down the tank. On my own system I place the sump, skimmer and so on behind the tank, rather than in in stand. It requires that the tank be placed away from the wall, but makes service very easy. This is something I really appreciate as I get older and don't flex as well as I did. I still have plenty in the stand such as my chiller and closed loop pump.

    I find that I need to replace major components every 10 to 15 years or so, even with buying top quality gear. Layout the equipment so you have enough give and take to replace something with the new one being a bit different in size or shape.

    If at all possible use rigid PVC pipe as the first choice, flexible PVC pipe (spaflex) as the second choice, and avoid hosebarbs as clear PVC tubing unless there is no other way. Hose barbs and clear tubing are a lot more prone to leak and also grow algae inside. Use enough unions and true union ball valves so you can take all the plumbing apart for repair or cleaning.

    To answer your specific questions...

    Placing an over flow at once side will limit the surface skimming to some extent, but it's not usually a problem. If it worries you, consider a smaller overflow at each end. This all comes down to the cost and difficulty with the plumbing and aquascape verses the flow through the tank. IThere is no real right or wrong, just what works best for you.

    There are also a lot of ways to run your return lines. On my own system I use mostly 1" pipe and run a length of pipe along the back of the stand and use a T to connect the return pump to this pipe. I use additional Ts cut into this pipe for the actual returns or to go to reactors or anything else I want connected to the return pump flow. After each T there is a valve, mostly true union ball valves, so the flow to each return can be adjusted. I have found this method to be easy to alter and maintain. Again, this is more about what works best for you. I place one return at each end of the tank, but if you place them some where else I wouldn't call that wrong. I also use a closed loop that is independent from the filtration system. This is for additional circulation across the top of the sand bed and into the pile of rocks that make up the reef.
     
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  3. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again Dave , As always Your advice is based on sense and reason. Here is a pic of the construction site.

    [​IMG]
    As You can see I have a very long plywood sump . It's way too big but I had large sections which I found easy to add stuff etc. The sump was built with high flow in mind and custom fit in the stand. It surely doesn't come out ! The stand was pretty tall so work under was fairly easy. I realize the sump is "overkill" and could be a lot smaller. Another variable to consider! If I go with a smaller sump and place it behind the tank, then the placement of the overflow will change ! I just went in a full circle back to my original question ! :woohoo:

    I need a beer !

    Ok I feel better now ! I will check out the sump structure wise before I change that. It's been under the tank for 9 years ! If it's still in good shape,, I have a descent war chest but still need to watch construction costs !
     
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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
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  4. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    Consider that with a plywood sump, sooner or later the paint is going to chip or scratch, and water is going to get into the wood. So it time the sump will need major repair or replacement. That's why you want it easy to remove.

    Now if you had to remove it, you could cut it into pieces and get it out that way, but you would still have the issue of needing to get a new one in it's place.

    Yes, it's one choice after another, and you keep hoping you don't make a choice you can't easily correct.
     
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  5. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Evening Folks, I'm relaxing back in my office doing some research and listening to Donald. So this eve, I've been reading up on sumps. I'm enjoying the challenge of all the differing info and ideas they bring up. So today I hauled out this enormous 7 ' sump. I took one look and decided a new smaller sump is necessary. Now I "could" fit a 75 gl tank under the stand and still be able to remove it .
    My problem is getting over losing very large sections. A 75 would give me 3 sections around 16 " each and hold a little over 40 gls.
    Do You think that would be enough for a 180 gl tank? Also I read and article from reef keeping magazine by Greg Taylor. He stated that a skimmer section only needs to be large enough to hold the skimmer and drains. What's Your op on this?
    I could save an inch or two this way. Now I could install a remote fuge and all my probs would be solved. However I'm having issues picturing how and where it would sit. Another variable. Gotta love it ! Oh wow, it's midnight !
    Thanks Folks and Have a Good Day !
     
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  6. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    The size of a sump need not be very large if your talking about basic filtration requirements. It's only if you also want add on items like a skimmer or refugium or algae scrubber that you need more space.

    Most of a typical sump doesn't have too much in it as far as filtration goes. It may have a lot as far as equipment.

    Typically the skimmer section needs to hold the skimmer itself and any mechanical filtration such as filter socks you want to use. Don't go too tight here. You may need to replace the skimmer someday and you might need to go with something that is a little larger.

    If your going to have a refugium, I recommend you set this up as a separate unit apart from the sump. For best results the flow through a refugium should usually be comparatively slow compared to the sump.
     
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  7. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    I can get a 1/4 sheet of acrylic for 150 $ with a couple of cuts for free. This way I could have a 5' by 16"by16" sump with the baffles and all. That's probably less than a new 75gl tank. I can work with this size sump with lot's of room in the sections. I'll get more details on Monday. I didn't get to it today, I was giving myself painting lessons. Dave, Thanks for that easily missed detail about leaving some more room for a future bigger skimmer !
     
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  8. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    Well, you could try, but carefully consider that acrylic tends to deform. If you attempted to build something that large it would have a high chance of failure.

    However there is nothing to stop you from building several smaller boxes and connecting them together using large diameter pipe.
     
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  9. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    I agree on connecting several boxes. That way I could remove the setup from under the sump. Another something to ponder !
     
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  10. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Evening ! I'm in my usual evening spot waiting for Bill to speak and contemplating this build. I got the ceiling painted and now the choice of wall color has proved difficult to make. Now I can build a stand and a sump. I can drill a tank. But for the life of me I can't pick out color .You realize how many shades of sandy light brown there are?o_O I pretty much decided on a 1 piece sump of acrylic and use 3/8. I didn't price a sheet but will in the morning. If it's around 200 I'm ok with that. Then I will make a card board mock up and see how it fits. Other than some refurbish on the stand . I'm getting close on the actual install. I guess I need a tank 1st ! Thanks and have a good day !
     
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  11. rostervandross

    rostervandross Active Member

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    Yo seƱor , cool to see you're thinking of doing some work with acrylic. I'm considering buying a sheet to use to build a smaller square sump for my new 30x30 cube tank also. I've never welded acrylic before but it seems pretty doable and cheaper and easy to cut compared to glass. kind of excited to see how it goes for you and then if it goes well on my end it kind of opens up a door to be able to build a lot of other containers from acrylic , maybe an overflow, etc! Good luck
     
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  12. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Hello Roster. Well the prospect of building an acrylic sump isn't good ! The 3 supply houses in town want at least 240$ for a sheet of 3/8. That is outrageous . So Roster working with acrylic isn't that tough. make sure the cuts are nice and straight and the edges are pretty smooth. Making smaller stuff like overflows or a fish trap maybe is a breeze.
    I can get a new 75 for 170$ of course I'll look for a used one.but either way a 75 is plenty big enough .
    I don't have to worry about the thing leaking down the road and it will make my job a lot easier ! let's see where I'm at sofar. I got the room painted. I have the tank and sump picked out. As for the stand, I have to replace the bottom ,make the legs a little longer and paint it. I have the skimmer ,return pump and lighting. shoot If I want I can use the metal halides if I like. That's pretty much phase one.
    Next topic will be sand,some way to lift the base rock off the sand bed etc. Now those subjects will be interesting . Tomorrow I'm off to see the Man about ordering a couple of tanks ! Good night ! :walking:
     
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  13. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Lets see where was I ? Oh, I will surely use a 75 tank for a sump. However, If I buy a shiny new one I can swap it out for the old,etched,cloudy glass 75 I have now ! Tomorrow I'm making a down payment and the Man says I can get it by Friday . I had planned to setup a 180 tank ,not swap out a couple of 75's while I was at it !
    Another unforeseen variable !
     
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  14. StirCrayzy

    StirCrayzy Well-Known Member

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    I'm tagging along to see the new baby arrive !
    Congrats !
     
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  15. Oxylebius

    Oxylebius Well-Known Member

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    Also tagging along...
     
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  16. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for tagging along ! . My next variable will be the sump ! Center return, ref in the center, how to get and how much water to the ref? how deep of water, Lot's of stuff like that. Would like to hear what You Folks like about your sump. Be back soon !
     
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  17. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Good afternoon, here is a pic of the 75gal sump. You see the skimmer and return pump in there. I have room for all the this stuff and a ref however it looks small to me after a 7 ft plywood sump ! Any way I pretty much decided to have the return in the center. with skimmer to the left ref to the right. One reason that stand out is that light from the ref shines on the side of skimmer facing it. There is a bunch of algae growing in the skimmer body chamber. I'd think that's not a good thing. Now I have to bleed off my return to feed the refugium which is something I don't want to do. I want as much turn over as possible ! I'll drop in this eve after some more contemplation ! LOL
    Uh here is a pic !
    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
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  18. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Where was I, so sorry the tank is so dirty looking I did wipe it out good so once there is water in it hopefully it won't look so bad. So the sections are around 16 inches each with out baffles. Things gets pretty tight once I add them. so I do have the option of adding a 20 tall tank I have as a remote refugium..
    The 75 already has 2 holes drilled that could be used to drain said fuge.
    [​IMG]
    I have plenty of room for this 20 . I'd rather not make even more work for my self. You think around a 14 inch section would be enough for a decent fuge ? I don't.
     
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  19. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    In the past few months I had a frag tank tied into my system. It quickly turned into nothing more than a tank of water that I was testing out skimmers in....I disconnected it over the weekend and used the water to top off a tank in the curing stage. It was a snap to remove, and it made 20 gallons of perfect water be easy to borrow.

    I left the plumbing with valves so I can quickly add it or something similar back in. I imagine that a proper plastic container would work for my purposes.
     
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  20. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Hey squatch, I have a 20 tall just sitting there. Your use of a separate tank or such is good. I like the multi use idea ! I could use a piece of flex and a union between. I'd like a container large enough for a big fat ball of chaeto.
    [​IMG]
    I just need to adjust placement for everything including a fairly large ATO can.
     
    #20
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