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Sh!t Disturber
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679 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so I'm still in the last stages of ironing out the rebuild of my 120 short (4'x2'x2'). We moved recently, and I've tried to keep as much from my mixed reef as possible. I've kept all my equipment which I'll list soon. All fish were sold, and sold most of my corals that weren't attached to rocks. I've kept my rocks were are currently in about 6x 5Gallon buckets, and my sand in 2 buckets (which I intend to rinse).

The tank is being set up in our basement but it took a bitt of planning and measuring to find the perfect spot. The floor is very uneven tile, so I purchased heavy duty mats for under the stand to help even and distribute the load. At our condo, I used those square foam pads that connect like lego, to protect the new laminate. But now I need it to serve a different purpose. These mats come as 4'x3' but i needed two or the stand would overhang the sides by 1/4" and that was enough to bother me. The mats look like they're made of crushed tired and must weigh 30-40 lbs.

There's definitely a slope, the back is higher than the front of the tank. I have some shims and will place them under the mat.

The tank location was also directly in front of an electrical outlet. I didn't have issues in the condo but since I was putting in the effort to be extra careful, I installed a waterproof plug cover. I'm thinking of converting to a GFCI, but not sure if I will.

Still gotta clean out the Display, rinse sand, figure out rock scape, etc... Hopefully it's running within 2 weeks.

 

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Sh!t Disturber
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679 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Livestock Plan

So, this tank was recently a very mixed reef. Basically if it was interesting, I wanted it. I had all sorts of corals and a mix of types of fish. Everything grew and was healthy so I didn't really have much direction for the tank other than if it looked pretty, I wanted it. The tank was packed and I had no room for anything new.

I do have some special corals I've kept... rainbow chalice, some rasta zoas, walking dendro, bta, monomyces and my monti palawanesis. If I add anything new, going forward, i'll try to focus on one thing - maybe Euphyllias and some crazy Acans. In the old tank, I bought a lot of baby frags - the cheap discount stuff from frag meets, or stores. I liked the idea of growing stuff myself, but there was a lot of impulse buys. I was still learning and didn't want to spend tons on single pieces until I was confident. Now, I'll search out the super nice pieces.

I've wanted predatory fish for some time. I want to watch fish hunt prey and that aren't the common stuff you see everywhere.

So, I'm thinking:
Fu Manchu Lionfish
Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish
A scorpionfish if I can find one
Red Fin Waspfish (thanks for the suggestion Fesso)
Harlequin Tusk (will this be ok in a 4' long tank?)

Snowflake eel - share opinions on how tight the lid needs to be. I'm thinking of having my return hang over the rim so I might not be able to have a totally secured lid.

Possibly some urchins for waste control. not sure what other CUC I'd be able to have.
 

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Sh!t Disturber
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679 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Setup help

So - here's where I'm stuck. Sump setup and plumbing. I forgot I tend to write walls of text. sorry in advance.

My plan is to go with a Herbie. I had a Single Durso with single return and there were a few nights I was a little nervous because of some small change in the tank/flow.

First I'll explain how I had it, to put things in perspective. The single durso (on the left side of the display) went down to the left side of the sump. Over the time I had the tank, I played with different ideas, angles, but it always basically dumped into the left side of the sump. And the return went back up the left side as well.

My sump went from the biggest section on the left (15" wide) and then two smaller sections (7" wide). I've never used Filter socks, but I was putting filter floss between the first baffles to the second section. The first section housed the skimmer, Bag of Siporax, and two pumps running my gfo/carbon reactor and UV.

The middle section held my return pump and 2 heaters (one backup which I never actually used). The third section held a small refugium; some substrate, a few rocks, some macro and an emerald crab (sump pet!). I had a "Tee" on my return, and a small amount (10% maybe?) redirected into the fuge.

OK - so now the new plan, which may or may not be great - looking for opinions. I've flipped the sump so the fuge (small section) is directly under the bulkheads on the left. I'll have a main siphon and an emergency. My thought was to have the main siphon run to the right into the BIG section which will now be on that side. I can use some elbows and keep the horizontal pipe to under 20" I'll have the emergency stay to the left, going into the fuge.

This will allow 100% of my return pump going back to the display and still create some flow through the fuge. I've bought PVC spa flex to eliminate much of the "hard" elbows.

Will I have any issues with the siphon and emergency going to 2 different locations? Will it be best to have the emergency going 100% straight down into the sump; and for an emergency, does it matter where the pipe ends in relation to the water level?

How about the siphon, it needs to be under the waterline to maintain the siphon, right? Any major issues with a horizontal run of 20" if I don't use any 90 degree angles?

Thats all I can think of right now. I might need to upgrade my DC4000 pump, anyone got an apex ready DC6000? Should I have my return go back to the display in the centre? Or keep it like it was, on the left side by the overflow box?

More pics and questions coming in the next days!
 

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Now is a good time to get GFCI, I went my whole life without them and survived and you likely would too but since you are just setting up now why not be safe? Instead of replacing the existing outlet I suggest adding a GFCI on it's own breaker. Keep the return pump (and maybe some other things) off the GFCI so tripping won't kill your tank and having the hands in the tank won't kill you.

Not really sure what to recommend with the sump. I still use durso overflows. I've never had one fail or be super noisy. If I was setting up a new tank I would prefer one of those new slim overflow boxes and do either herbie or bean but working with what I've got. You may want to consider replacing existing overflow depending on how much you care / how much you are willing to do.

Do as much planning as you can now before you go to far. Thing about water changes, future expansion and other issues that might not present themselves right away but eventually will. It looks like there isnt much head height in your stand, you might want to consider putting it on a riser.
 

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Sh!t Disturber
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679 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Now is a good time to get GFCI, I went my whole life without them and survived and you likely would too but since you are just setting up now why not be safe? Instead of replacing the existing outlet I suggest adding a GFCI on it's own breaker. Keep the return pump (and maybe some other things) off the GFCI so tripping won't kill your tank and having the hands in the tank won't kill you.

Not really sure what to recommend with the sump. I still use durso overflows. I've never had one fail or be super noisy. If I was setting up a new tank I would prefer one of those new slim overflow boxes and do either herbie or bean but working with what I've got. You may want to consider replacing existing overflow depending on how much you care / how much you are willing to do.

Do as much planning as you can now before you go to far. Thing about water changes, future expansion and other issues that might not present themselves right away but eventually will. It looks like there isnt much head height in your stand, you might want to consider putting it on a riser.
All good points. I'm not sure it's feasible right now to add another outlet in the wall so I could have one GFCI and one regular. It's an older home so there's only 2 outlets in the basement - one is being dedicated to the tank and the other for the tv. I think realistically I'll just keep the regular outlet with the waterproof cover.

One crappy thing is the placement of the tank. the only suitable place is on an exterior wall. That, plus being in a basement with tile floors not sure yet what the electricity bills would be, so I'll start with a low temp and work my way up once I know the costs.

In terms of planning, I was considering having manifolds in the return, to run the gfo/carbon reactor or UV - but i think I'll keep them on separate pumps so I can control them separately with my Apex.

Here's a quick pic of my coral holding tanks. I'm actually surprised everything has stayed alive! Had to keep it in the centre of the room until painting got finished.

 

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Trouble
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2,406 Posts
Don't use spa flex.
Do not use spa flex.
Don't even consider using spa flex.

As much as people say it can be glued, it doesn't glue well. It is the biggest regret I have on our system and the one place we have had leak issues.

If you use spa flex, invest in some silicone self sealing tape. Immediately.
 

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Trouble
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2,406 Posts
And, if you are going to install a gfci, do it at the outlet, not the breaker. Gfci breakers tend to be very touchy and trip a lot. Kudos for the water proof cover on the outlet. With proper drip loops everything should be good.
 

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Hunh?
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2,545 Posts
Don't use spa flex.
Do not use spa flex.
Don't even consider using spa flex.

As much as people say it can be glued, it doesn't glue well. It is the biggest regret I have on our system and the one place we have had leak issues.

If you use spa flex, invest in some silicone self sealing tape. Immediately.
Just curious to the cement you used. I find with SpaFlex you must use a primer and really give it a thorough application on the hose and fitting.
 

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Sh!t Disturber
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679 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Just curious to the cement you used. I find with SpaFlex you must use a primer and really give it a thorough application on the hose and fitting.
Oooh I caused a debate!

The intention of the spa flex was to create a bit of shock absorption. The previous setup, the drain was all hard pieces. On my return, I had a section of about 8" of braided clear hose, clamped to a connection and the rest was hard pieces back up to the display.

If I go with my plan to run the siphon drain from the left to the right side of my sump, even with brackets to secure the pipe to my stand, I wanted to relieve as much stress on the bulkhead.

I bought Oatey Clear PVC cleaner (in the yellow container) - WTAC, would that be an acceptable cleaner/primer when used with the Clear PVC glue as well?

Crayon! Thanks for the advice - I'm just asking questions about it so I make the right decision.

Oh, Also - I want to upgrade my ATO container. I was using just a foodsafe container from Cdn tire but I think it holds about 6 gallons. I was able to fit a 10 gallon aquarium in the space beside my sump... but I need a lid of some sort. Does anyone have leftover acrylic and can cut me a small piece?
 

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Trouble
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2,406 Posts
Just curious to the cement you used. I find with SpaFlex you must use a primer and really give it a thorough application on the hose and fitting.
It may have been a glue situation, I can't remember, but the other aspect which drives me crazy is the fact that it doesn't make good turns.
My choice would be hard pipe with silicone tube sections as shock absorbers. I really like the silicone tubing as a place to disconnect if needed as well and it also takes up any variations if the pipes don't line up.
Available at BRS and I think Big Show brings it in too, but can't say. I got mine elsewhere.
 

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Hunh?
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2,545 Posts
Oooh I caused a debate!

The intention of the spa flex was to create a bit of shock absorption. The previous setup, the drain was all hard pieces. On my return, I had a section of about 8" of braided clear hose, clamped to a connection and the rest was hard pieces back up to the display.

If I go with my plan to run the siphon drain from the left to the right side of my sump, even with brackets to secure the pipe to my stand, I wanted to relieve as much stress on the bulkhead.

I bought Oatey Clear PVC cleaner (in the yellow container) - WTAC, would that be an acceptable cleaner/primer when used with the Clear PVC glue as well?

Crayon! Thanks for the advice - I'm just asking questions about it so I make the right decision.

Oh, Also - I want to upgrade my ATO container. I was using just a foodsafe container from Cdn tire but I think it holds about 6 gallons. I was able to fit a 10 gallon aquarium in the space beside my sump... but I need a lid of some sort. Does anyone have leftover acrylic and can cut me a small piece?
LOL...no debate at all. Everyone has their own preferences based on previous experiences. A healthy and respectful discussion is all we desire ;)

I use and prefer the Oatey clear primer myself. The dyed purple/blue primer is nice as a reminder of what was primed but I like clean joints and you can tell by the slight difference in surface color and texture ;).

Not a fan of the clear Oatey from the hardware stores...too stiff/brittle when dried. The grey one they sell is fine. I prefer and use IPEX 95 Flex or Oatey 795 as there is some flexibility/softness in the dried cement and won't shrink over time. You can get them from JJ Downs.

SpaFlex you can get relatively tight corners...just take your time using a heat gun.

Silicone tubing as coupling works great but in high salt environments you have to use low carbon stainless steel clamps or slather the gear screw and rub a layer of silicone grease around the ring to it doesn't rust away too fast.
 

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Sh!t Disturber
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679 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
So, I had to take things in a slight different direction... but for the good. The spot I had intended to install the tank wasn't going to work. #1 it was an exterior basement wall near the sliding glass door, so temp control would be a concern. #2, and the bigger problem, was that the floor was waaaay off level. Almost an inch front to back! After shimming it, I could stick a finger under at the side. I was not comfortable with that at all.

So, it's going along another wall - as a peninsula! I'm pretty excited to have more viewing area. I tried to clean up the (formerly) back of my tank which I had let coraline build up over a year and a half, and then dry. bit of work with a razor blade. It's not perfect, theres some imperfections in the glass from the coraline which I don't think ill ever get out, but it might look fine when filled with water.

Almost ready to put the plumbing together. I bought some of the Grey pvc glue on wtac's suggestion over the clear.

 

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tank

dude ... tank looks great ...u know I am here if u need help ...
 

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Sh!t Disturber
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679 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks Tom!

A few quick updates. Got most of my plumbing ready to install. I bought MORE than I need so I wouldn't be running out to a hardware store moments before it closes (I doubt I'll need more than one valve).

Got the stand shimmed and pretty close to level. I'm using 2 levels for redundancy. I'm happy with how it is empty, but I'll have to measure again once water starts going in.

THIS WEEKS Questions/concerns:

Much of my rock from the previous setup has been in water filled buckets, waiting to get used. Since it was never dry, do I have to be concerned of any die off when putting it into my tank? I really don't want to bake the rock - I was hoping keeping it wet would help reduce/eliminate the cycle and I could just drop it into the new tank. Thoughts?

Should I use the SW from the buckets the rocks were in? There's probably at least 30g I can salvage (if it's a good idea) from my previous display.

Any problem with rinsing sand with tap water?

I don't think I'm going to drill/rod my rocks to secure them. Maybe the TLF / DD / Instant Ocean cement stuff to secure them. Does anyone have advice on which product works best to secure rocks, and the best place (price) to get it?
 

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THIS WEEKS Questions/concerns:

Much of my rock from the previous setup has been in water filled buckets, waiting to get used. Since it was never dry, do I have to be concerned of any die off when putting it into my tank? I really don't want to bake the rock - I was hoping keeping it wet would help reduce/eliminate the cycle and I could just drop it into the new tank. Thoughts?

Should I use the SW from the buckets the rocks were in? There's probably at least 30g I can salvage (if it's a good idea) from my previous display.

Any problem with rinsing sand with tap water?

I don't think I'm going to drill/rod my rocks to secure them. Maybe the TLF / DD / Instant Ocean cement stuff to secure them. Does anyone have advice on which product works best to secure rocks, and the best place (price) to get it?
As long as there has been circulation and somewhat stable water conditions ie you didn't let evaporation expose a large portion of the rock it should be fine. You will know by the smell instantly if it's not. You could use an ammonia alert badge to confirm but again if it doesn't stink it should be fine. I've had live rock in a tank and powerhead since July and just looked at it and noticed there are still a few button polyps on it. The rock hasn't had a light over it this whole time but it's still purple ect. It does get a bit of sunlight.

You should not use the water the rock has been in unless you have been doing regular water changes. The cost of 30 gallons is minimal and better to start with 100% fresh (salt) water.

You have to use tap water to rinse out sand, it would be cost prohibitive to do it any other way. It takes a LOT of water to really rinse sand clean. Before it gets cold it might be a good idea to do this outside with the hose.

Drilling works best but that's not to say you can't use a glue / epoxy mix. Glue from dollar store, epoxy from black friday specials. Just remember if you are going to use a lot of epoxy do not add your fish and corals right away as the water will be oxygen deprived.
 

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Sh!t Disturber
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Discussion Starter #18
As long as there has been circulation and somewhat stable water conditions ie you didn't let evaporation expose a large portion of the rock it should be fine. You will know by the smell instantly if it's not. You could use an ammonia alert badge to confirm but again if it doesn't stink it should be fine. I've had live rock in a tank and powerhead since July and just looked at it and noticed there are still a few button polyps on it. The rock hasn't had a light over it this whole time but it's still purple ect. It does get a bit of sunlight.

Drilling works best but that's not to say you can't use a glue / epoxy mix. Glue from dollar store, epoxy from black friday specials. Just remember if you are going to use a lot of epoxy do not add your fish and corals right away as the water will be oxygen deprived.
thanks - I have about 30% or my rock in an aquarium right now - I needed to save some special corals that encrusted onto some rocks. That's the picture in my post at the top of this page. The other 70% of rock has been in sealed buckets for about a month. No Light, no circulation - but filled with tank water... I was planning on just pulling them out of the buckets and placing in my display. I'm rinsing the sand but the rock I figured could be ok.

I think I'm going to pick up some Quikrete for securing rocks together. Drilled with rods would be nice but I don't think I want to deal with that mess and running around to pick up rods and a drill bit.
 

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Trouble
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I think I'm going to pick up some Quikrete for securing rocks together. Drilled with rods would be nice but I don't think I want to deal with that mess and running around to pick up rods and a drill bit.
Quickrete as in cement in a bag? Don't think that's wise.....cement is limestone based and it sounds like you want to get this into the tank right away, correct? If you are cementing the rock and curing it in some other water, then ok, but not back into the tank immediately.
Maybe others have experience with this, but I wouldn't do it.

Look at the Aquaforest stuff for cementing rocks. You need to do it out of the water, semi dry, but once it cures, it can go right back in. It's a powder which mixes up like an epoxy cement, designed for aquariums.
 
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