Reef nutrition

Richie's 48x24x12 frag tank

richiev

Supporting Member
Creating a new thread for my new frag tank. This will replace my 30 gallon lagoon with the main desire being a bigger sump which then meant a bigger stand which then meant a bigger tank. I want to have the tank have a bit less crap in it.

Starting things off, I built a sump (original sump thread). I originally was going to buy one, but I have a diy roller and none of the ones I saw seemed to be laid out well for that, and they're crazy expensive. Then I looked into buying the kits, and those had similar issues. In the end I decided to use a 40 breeder and design/print my own baffles. It's turned out a lot better than I was expecting.

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This was my first time doing siliconing, and it turned out good enough. I am waiting for the final panels to dry and will tomorrow give it another test to ensure the return pump water level baffle is secure and water tight. I have tested it once already and it worked great, but I had to redo it because I put the baffle in the wrong spot.

Next up will be getting the display in place and plumbing.
 
looks good. are the baffles two pieces glued together?
Correct. My printer isn't big enough to make a long single piece. It's a plastic bonding epoxy I picked up. I printed in PET-G which nothing is supposed to really bond with, but this is holding strong enough to take pressure in my testing. Next time I might just use silicone caulk for all of it though. The guides online say silicone won't stick to PET-G, but in my testing it's virtually impossible to get the silicone loose without giving up and sanding the plastic away.

Here's the return area baffle. Two pieces, a zig-zag seam. I filled the seam with epoxy and then tossed a dab of silicone along the edge for good measure. The return area is the only one that I believe strength matters, and also the only one that being truly water tight matters. All the others would have water flowing through / by intentionally, and should always have approximately the same amount of water on each side providing support.

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Here's the full thing:

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I could use some sump plumbing advice. The drain in the tank is a corner drain. Pics of the sump above, but here's the tank

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The sump is setup to have the drain on one end and the return on the other. A standard end to end flow. I've considered switching it up to be a horseshoe setup, draining and returning on the same end, with the flow going all the way around, but that seems like a lot of work and annoying.

The first advice I need is how to do the drains. It's drilled with two bottom holes, with one designed for a durso drain and the other a return line. Something like 1.5in and 1.25in piping sized bulkheads. Should I do two drains instead? I want it quiet, so I think I should just make them both standpipe drains, with one having a gate valve. Making both holes the same size isn't something I want to do, even though I've drilled multiple tanks so far. The holes are really close together, and me doing it by hand seems highly likely to crack it (I don't know how they did it, maybe a machine and a bunch of support).

Second, if I do two drains, should that main drain be the bigger or smaller line? I think the safest answer is the backup should be the same size or bigger, but I don't know if it'll matter as long as I am confident I sized the return section in the sump such that if the drains totally plugged it wouldn't overflow. That's what I usually do at least.

Third, which side should I put the drain and return on in the sump and tank? Three options:

1. Have the drains and return on the same side of the tank. Have the drain straight down into the sump (right side of pic), put the return on the other end of t the sump (left of pic), then do a long line across the sump to have the return go up. Direct drain line, long return line.
2. Same as 1, but opposite. have the drain and return on the same side of the tank, but setup the sump that opposite direction. Have the two drain lines go all the way across the sump, and the return be really short. Direct return line, long drain lines.
3. Drain and return at different sides of the tank. Drain straight down on the right. Return straight up on the left. Return would then be pushing water towards the drain.

The easiest plumbing is #3, but for some reason having the drain and return on opposite tank ends feels weird. Would all food just get blasted into the overflow? Having the return be a direct line seems good for pumping (#2/#3). Running two long drain lines seems annoying (#1).

Last question, is there and reason I should drill a hole for the return? In most of those options I'm assuming I'll use both holes for the drains. Assuming I do that, I either will run the return over the side of the tank or I have to drill a new hole for it. Drilling another hole seems like more work I don't want, but I definitely won't drill after I get it setup, so I'd need to decide on that now.

Thoughts on any/all of these? I can easily start with
 
Me....
I would use both holes for drain and return from wherever over the side
I’m old school and would use a sea swirl
2 drains are better than 1
Especially since it’s only a 1” drain hole
And will allow for higher turnover flow rate
 
Me....
I would use both holes for drain and return from wherever over the side
I’m old school and would use a sea swirl
2 drains are better than 1
Especially since it’s only a 1” drain hole
And will allow for higher turnover flow rate
So Herbie overflow, straight down, return over the side on the far side. Works for me, I'll just need to toy with with building the lid to account for that, but that'll be straightforward.

Any opinion on main drain as the larger drain versus smaller?

Though I just realized maybe which is better won't matter, since it's probably minor either way, and I only have one size gate valve on hand and don't want to order another one. So I'd need it to be on whatever size that happens to be.
 
Correction: the drain lines will be 1in and 3/4in. I misread the test fittings I had.

I need to get a new 3/4in (pipe size) bulkhead before I can switch to two drains, so I might try a single durso with the return running through the second overflow bulkhead during the test run. If I can get it quiet and consistent I'll possibly leave it that way. I doubt I'll be able to get it completely silent and rock solid though.
 
Getting closer. Still haven't finished setting this up due to work and wanting to make sure it's stable with my existing frag tank.

One thing I'm pretty happy with is how this return turned out. I was debating how to do the return, and based on advice here decided to just go over the side/back. However, I didn't want to have it be loose or look janky. So I pulled up fusion 360 and designed the below return. The ends are compatible with some large Loc Line I happened to have in a drawer (I think it's 3/4in but might be bigger).:

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I printed it in ABS, which allowed me to use PVC glue (I didn't actually use PVC<>ABS glue, just normal PVC) to tie everything together.

It attaches over the corner of the glass, and then I made some screws to hold it in place:

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Finally to finish it off I attached some Loc Line + printed some Random Flow Generators and it's working great (ignore the drip of water on the return. I need to tighten a couple things finally):

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Also at the bottom you can see the sand area I created in the tank, by designing/printing a small curved baffle. Goal of this is so I can have a small sand section, both for aesthetics and to give some wrasse a nice looking area to sleep. The baffle extends backwards so that the sand can hold it in place. It has a slight backwards ramp to it, mostly for aesthetics but also to try and encourage sand to stay in and water to shoot up and over (cc @H2OPlayar ) .

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Finally, I added a rail from @Reefinglens to hold the lights. The ugly phase going on is because I dumped a bunch of home grown phyto and pods and such in to try and get the N+P to measurable levels.

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Last steps:
  • build a mesh lid to keep the new wrasse from jumping out. This is complicated by all the indentations, which is why I'm ... designing a 3d printed rim that I can put a mesh frame on.
  • match the params (main diff is alk right now) to my frag tank
  • get my ATO moved over setup
  • cover the drain section with some mesh b/c otherwise it's going to be way too easy for the wrasse to get in
  • move all the things over
Hopefully today I finish most of that. Oh, and I guess future steps will include swapping some of the return with hard pvc so I don't have to see a brown tube.
 
I’d switch out that clear tubing on the return line for dark transparent or solid color tubing otherwise you’ll get algae growth or maybe even coralline and that could potentially affect flow rate.

Return lines look deep in tank make sure you have enough sump room to hold the excess when pumps are off even if you have a check valve. Or drill a small siphon hole up high near where loc line connects.
 
I’d switch out that clear tubing on the return line for dark transparent or solid color tubing otherwise you’ll get algae growth or maybe even coralline and that could potentially affect flow rate.

Return lines look deep in tank make sure you have enough sump room to hold the excess when pumps are off even if you have a check valve. Or drill a small siphon hole up high near where loc line connects.
I need to do another power outage test, but the more central line is not actually that far from the water line. However it's a 40 gallon breeder with lots of water room, so when I tested it earlier I had lots of room.

Solid black flexible tubing instead of clear works ok too if pvc is a pain for some spots
That's a good call. Though I'm not exactly sure where to get black. Worst case I'll wrap it in something opaque. That being said, my pump is way oversized for this tank, even when I turn the power to it's lowest. I bought an oversized one to match my main display, so I have a backup in case the display's pump dies.

A bit of extra restriction would actually be slight e beneficial for me (I didn't want to install a ball valve on the return).
 
Transferred everything over. Need to adjust lights and set up the rest of the equipment (dosers, reef pi, ...).

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Water is very cloudy because I dumped a ton of phyto in during setup, trying to get nutrients measurable. I expect the clam will quickly clear that out.

Took some pics to try and capture colors before they inevitable new setup bleaching.
 
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