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Setting Up The 125...


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okay... so here's the dealio... when i get restless, i either buy new tanks... rearrange my tanks... or setup tanks that are sitting around. :)

seems twice a year, i spend muchos dollars at bigals becuase it's either time to upgrade or my babies need stuff. ;)

so here's the ideal... i've got a 125 tank and stand sitting around at home. it came with tetratec filters, but they're missing parts, so i think i'ma just chuck those. it also came with glass lids which are very crusted with stuff... lights (1 missing bulb)... (i'll have to look over the inventory of stuff..) anyway, so i'm thinking cuz right now i'm a right at the brink of being overstocked... i have a combined total of 12 goldfish, 4 bristlenose plecos, 2 hillstream loaches, and 2 clown loaches in my 55 and 72 tanks.

125tankstand.jpg

this is the picture of the tank and stand from craigslist when i purchased it... the 46 bowfront was not included in the purchase.

filter info:

Eheim Pro 3e 2076 - 435gph

Eheim Wet/Dry 2227 - 145gph

Eheim 2217 (x2) - 264gph (528gph combined)

anyway... so my idea is that i will be moving all 55 and 72 goldfish tank inhabitants into the 125, and here's the part i will need help/ideas on...

i've always wanted to try having a freshwater refugium... so i'm thinking i will use the empty 55 from the moved goldfish and put it underneath the 125 tank in that bottom space.

i'm thinking of moving all the above mentioned filters onto the 125, and using the eheim wet/dry 2227 output to put water into the planted refugium...

then buying a pump that will be able to pump the water back into the tank or first into an UV sterilizer then back into the tank... like so...

125setupdiagram.jpg

does this seem like a good idea? anyone have any suggestions? advice? etc? :)

i'm thinking of having the refugium heavily planted... (i'll get lights for it)

with maybe some ghost shrimp and apple snails.

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  • Regular Member

i'm contemplating the pump back to the tank thing... or getting another pro 3e and having the pump go to the filter, then back into the tank. :hmm

i'm also being cheap... and not wanting to spend money that i can save. :tomuch: which when it comes to goldfish... is kinda hard. :P

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When buying a pump, you have to take into account the difference in water levels between the tank and refugium. Water will freely siphon down into the refugium (and overflow if you don't take proper precautions...), so the return pump must counter this tendency AND provide ample flow (to put it simply: there will be at least 4 feet of head on the pump). I suggest setting up the canister directly on the 125gal tank, and having the refugium be its own separate system: this will spare you from having to buy too large (and expensive) of a pump to keep up sufficient GPH.

For the water return: in case of power-outage, you want to prevent the water from siphoning down the return pipe and overflowing the sump. Thus, the return pipe should either have a check-valve (check-valves tend to restrict flow a little bit), or the spray bar needs to be near the surface in the 125gal so the siphon action will stop before the sump overflows (this part is easy to set up).

For the intake to the sump, water will siphon at an alarming rate... You have to accept the fact that no matter what, you can't rely on the pump keeping up with the water flow out of the tank (due to power outages among other things). There are several ways of going about this part of the setup, so I will tell you my preferred (based exclusively on reading): an overflow box. The basic concept is that water siphons out of the tank and into a small box hung on the tank (like a HOB filter). The water level in the tank will be a few inches higher than the end of the siphon into the box, so the water will flow into the box (once the siphon is established, of course). Then, there is a drain out of the overflow box, and this drain leads to the sump.

See this photo for an example: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/photos/art_skimmerless_04.jpg

The gray pipe on the left is the drain (standpipe), and the two transparent/white tubes on the right are the intake siphons out of the tank. The water level in the box can't drop lower than the top of the standpipe, and the water level in the tank can't drop lower than the siphon hoses. This design prevents the sump from spilling and prevents the siphon action from breaking. For the full DIY article see http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_...ss_overflow.php

This design is similar to an "overflow skimmer", but skimmers pull water from the surface, not the bottom of the tank. See http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_overflow.php for comparison

I suppose the only issue this doesn't cover is what happens if the intake pipe for the sump gets blocked and the tank gets filled too high...

Wow! I just wrote way too much. I hope you understood it all and didn't get scared from setting up the tank! :)

Edited by A Penguin
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hmm ok, so you're suggesting all 4 filters are on the 125, i use a gravity fed siphon with an overflow box to feed the refugium and finding a pump that will be able to counter the effects of gravity and return water to the tank? so basically the water turnover rate in the refugium will depend on the power of the pump that i get to return water to the tank, right? or do i have to calculate and balance the water that will be fed to the refugium and the water that will be returned to the tank, then buy a pump that will work?

Edited by Tinkokeshi
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You just have to consider the flow rate of the pump at the given head pressure to figure the final flow rate. When it's all set up, water will only siphon into the sump/refugium as fast as the pump is able to pump it back up...

edit: I think I misunderstood your question...

Edited by A Penguin
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hmm... perhaps i will have to set it up more like a saltwater refugium with all the dividers and stuff... just to be safe...

so the overflow prevents water from draining out of the tank... the divided compartments in the refugium will prevent water from being sucked out of the central compartment where the live plants and critters would be...

so how would i prevent the live critters from swimming through everything? sponge blocks?

refugium.gif

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Sponges and/or a filter pad would be one solution, or you could have the divider go all the way up but have lots of small holes drilled in it, or narrow slots cut in it. You can probably find something designed for such a purpose. The dividers in the design shown also let sediments settle out of the water, making the system act as a filter of sorts.

An alternative to the dividers is a float-switch that only runs the pump if the water level is high enough, and a filter intake screen or sponge pre-filter for the pump to prevent debris and fish from going into the pump. The float-switch will also prevent the pump from running dry. If there is enough water in the system (tank+refugium), the only reason the water level in the refugium would drop is due to the water not draining out of the tank, or not draining fast enough for some reason.

BTW that is a great animation you found. It correctly illustrates each of the components, though I would use a regular intake, not a skimmer.

What are your plans for the refugium? Separating out the smaller/younger fish and growing plants?

Edited by A Penguin
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The filters need to run separate from the sump.

The sump needs its own hookup to the tank. As stated, since this tank does not have built-in overflows you need an overflow box. When the overflow box is functioning properly it allows any extra water in the tank to overflow back in to the sump. This way however much water the pump is moving will overflow into the overflow box and go back in to the sump. The only issue with this is that you have to make sure the overflow box can handle the flow provided by the pump. Rather than worrying about getting an overflow box that can handle the amount of water by the pump at the head height, it is better if it can handle even more, so I would base it on how much the pump can move in general. So if the pump is 500gph (for example), but at that head height it will only move 250gph, I would still have an overflow box capable of handling the full 500gph, just to be sure the overflow box is more than capable of handling the flow. The last thing you want is an overflow that can barely handle the flow, flirting with limits is not a good idea in this hobby. The flow in the sump is determined by exactly how much water the pump moves. The extra water put in the tank by the pump will automatically be exactly how much overflows into the overflow skimmer box and back down into the sump.

For the sump itself it would be good to silicone in a couple dividers. This way the water return will not distub the substrate and the substrate will not get into the pump. A couple piece of plexiglass siliconed in place should suffice. These don't need to be as tall as the water will be in the sump, just enough to keep the substrate where it is supposed to be. I would just use two, not four like in your diagram. Some rock rubble where the water from the tank comes into the sump will help break up its flow before entering into the planted area.

You want the pump running all the time. Most are worn out much faster if frequently turned on and off.

Also keep in mind that with a sump the water level in the tank will not vary, but the water level in the sump will. This is important for topping off evaporation and during water changes.

Also, the water level in the sump needs to be low enough to handle all the extra water if the power goes out or the pump is turned off. When the pump is on it moves a lot of water into the tank. If you fill the sump and then the pump is turned off, all this extra water will still need to drain into the sump. If the sump is full already it can overflow and flood the room. This is why the water level in sumps is so low. It is best to fill the tank and sump with the pump off, then turn the pump on. Whatever the water level is in the sump at this point is the maximum fill level when the pump is on. It is best to mark this on the sump with a permanent marker to make sure you don't accidentally overfill the sump when the pump is on.

I would buy a surface skimming overflow box. I have seen them as cheap as about $30 online. This also keeps the surface of the water clean to help increase oxygenation at the surface.

I talked to people about overflows and skimmers in reference to my reef and I did not find anyone who would trust a DIY over the just as cheap overflow skimming boxes mentioned above. Obviously there are some who would, but with them so cheap online I would trust them over my own work of unknown flow capabilities.

Have you decided what plants or lighting yet?

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is the skimmer necessarily if this is running on a freshwater tank?

as for lighting, i would probably have two sets of power compact coralife freshwater aqualights...

i have planned a heavily planted freshwater tank... probably with microsword or dwarf hairgrass, eldoea or anacharis and whatever other plants that i look up that seem to grow quickly and look fairly nice.

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Thanks for the additions and adjustments to the info I gave Fishguy. You certainly know what you're talking about. :)

The skimmer isn't necessary, but as Fishguy said it helps with oxygenation by causing moving more surface water, and it catches floating debris and oil and such. An overflow of some sort certainly is necessary. The alternative, a standard intake, could be used to capture more debris from deeper in the tank, but you'll already have the other filters for that.

Edited by A Penguin
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yeah it's been a while since i last read up on refugiums and sumps...

i looked these up two years or so ago when i was setting up my 72 gal...

haha so the information is a bit rusty.

okay... sounds like a plan... i'll have to do some research on overflow boxes, plant types, and measuring the amount of tubing i'll be needing.

i know most sumps have the intake tube connect to an enclosed portion of the sump that usually holds the mechanical filtration... would i need that part or can i forgo this and go ahead with the 55 with 2 dividers?

55refugium.jpg

the main thing i just have to keep in mind is whatever pump water turnover rate i get, i just have to make certain that the overflow box is capable of handling that amount, right?

any specific type of tubing i need to look into for the feeder tubing and the return tubing?

Edited by Tinkokeshi
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Yes, an overflow box is a must, marine or freshwater. The box is perfect because it cuts of flow to the sump when the pump is off at such a high point in the tank.

For tubing you need thicker inner diameter (ID) for the drain since it is not under pressure and needs to be able to handle all the flow without any issues. The exact type of tubing is not really important. Some people use flexible clear vinyl tubing, some use PVC, some use flexible PVC. For the return line running from the pump back to the tank the ID does not have to be as wide since the water will be under pressure. The tubing may have to be a little thicker though (the wall of the tubing) to withstand this extra pressure though.

Correct, since you will have so much filtration on this tank you really won't need any in the sump.

I would not do the short plants, I would stick to fast growing bunch plants like anacharis. Short plants would quickly lose their light supply as the taller stuff grows.

Unless you already have this lighting I would not get it. T5s are cheaper. For about the cost of replacement bulbs for compact fluorescents you can get a normal output T5 fixture with bulbs. I have one on my reef, it is a great option. The only other thing I like as much is the screw-in compact fluorescent bulbs that work in incandescent fixtures. These are pretty cheap and very easy to deal with. I have heard that changing the bulbs in a compact fluorescent fixture is a huge pain. I would run the refugium lights 24/7 for maximum growth.

Do you know what kind of substrate you are going to use in the sump?

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so the eheim filter tubing wouldn't work for the incoming feeder tubing, but would work for the return tubing? hmm... i'll hafta go look at home depot or something for prices. :D

as for the lighting, i already have one of the light strips running on my 55.. was just going to get another. i guess i could always get a T5 though instead.

for substrate, the stuff i currently have in my tropical tank is caribsea eco-complete. seems to work well enough, so that's what i was planning on using.

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For the return tubing, I would use the tubing size recommended by the pump's manufacturer for that specific pump. The pump will probably have a 1/2" or 3/4" output, so a return line should be at least that large. Smaller hoses/pipes have more flow resistance.

Out here, 5/8" clear vinyl tubing is about $0.69/foot. I recommend that you find out what pump you're using before you buy the hose.

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thanks for the assistance guys. :)

of course... the setup of the 125 might not actually happen till xmas or even after then...

i just like to plan far in advance so the idea can simmer in my brain. :)

i'll definitely update this post when i do get around to making progress towards the setup. ;)

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Just a couple of add-ins.

I had a similar set-up with 180 g. main tank and 90 gal sump refugium. I wound up breaking it down because I needed the space, but it worked out very well for a long time.

First of all, in selecting the sump for the refugium, volume is not the only critical factor. Be sure to consider the surface area in comparison to the main tank. I liked to have as much volume as possible in my refugium without risking overlfow [figured the big idea of a sump is to increase total volume]. So be sure the surface area of your sump is at least 50% of the surface area of your main tank. When you're talking, commercial, HOB overflows, the amount that the water will drop in the main tank in the event of a power failure, is limited by the height of the slots in the overflow box. These are roughly an inch tall. Therefore, water level in main tank will drop an inch in a power failure. SO, if the surface area of the sump is 50% of the surface area of main tank, water level can be expected to rise only two inches in the sump... allowing you to keep it quite full, all the time. Of coursse in smaller sumps, the water rises correspondingly higher in the event of power failure. I look at set-ups with huge tanks and tiny sumps and think "splash". Sometime, somehow, water is going to be on the floor.

Secondly, if you do keep a large volume of water in your sump refugium, which again I am sure you want to, position of the pump in the refugium is a factor. Another precaution is to position the pump closer to the top of the water vs. on the floor of the sump so in the event that you lose siphon from the overflow for some unGodly reason, all the gallonage from the sump is not pumped into and over the top of your main tank. In the 90 gal. refugium sump I had, I turned an empty, 5 g. aquarium on end and suctioned the pump to the top of it so it was near the top of the water and [what?] 16" off the floor of the sump. This also makes it a little less critical to trust that your overflow output and your pump output "gee-haw" perfectly.

Position your spray bar where ya want. Just make sure that somewhere near an inch from the top of the water, the connector leading to spray bar has a hole in it, to break a possible back-siphon scenario and prevent your sump from overflowing. You don't really have to have the spray bar its self, at the top of the water to prevent back-siphoning. Some people with reef set-ups that rely only on the overflow filter, position the spray bar at the bottom of the tank to keep debris moving.

And one final add-in on lighting. I assume since we're on Koko's we're talking coldwater, "goldfish aquarium". Both T5 and compact fixtures are *hot* and will raise your water temperature, quite a bit. Thus is the problem with planted aquariums and goldies. If we're not careful, it can become about making the plants thrive at the expense of the goldfish, which defeats the purpose. To get enough wattage to make most aquarium plants happy, produces a lot of heat which is great for tropicals, but bad for goldies. If you don't mind monkeying with fans and/or chillers, that's cool. But another idea is to stick with some of the low-light loving plants like Anubias for your refugium. Anubias are power-house nitrate removers. They grow slowly, but their leaves are broad enough for plenty of exchange. They take occassional salting very well. They don't shed leaves and clog pumps. Virtually nothing will eat them. They thrive [with a capital T] on lighting levels as low as 1 watt per g., therfore require less sophisticated, less expensive [and cooler!] flourescent ligthing fixtures. No fans or chillers required. :-P Anubias are pricy, but they live on and on and on...

Best of luck with your endeavor!

Edited by CometKeeper
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Thanks so much cometkeeper!

I'll have to keep you posted as well to the progress. :)

I wasn't planning on doing an elaborate planted tank underneath...

but i'll also keep in mind the whole leaves clogging up the pump thing.

:) I'm still thinking things through before I finally make the jump and start moving things around.

Again, thanks so much for your suggestions! They'll really help when setting this up! :D

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