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Planning tank..(Opinions needed)

Feb 18, 2005
Im contemplating setting up a 150 now that I have the room for it.My plan would be to house an officianalis or if not available a larger octopus such as Vulgaris.

I have a friend that is selling a large cpr sump/skimmer. Im not sure how effective it will be nor have I ever used a wet dry system before.

He is selling it for so cheap that its tempting.

http://www.aquacave.com/detail.aspx?ID=1416 is a description of it. Any opinions?

Typically I have just used a sump, big skimmer and fuge and have always had great success with this. Im unsure if I trust the skimmers available with this filter. Also, do you feel that the wet/dry portion is necessary?

Or should I just invest in a large skimmer and throw it in a 55 gallon sump?
I am not a fan of sumps with built in skimmers. Usually for the same money or less, you can get a much more powerful skimmer in its own sump. It is also very easy to add a 'wet/dry' portion to any sump - you can even use the skimmer effluent to feed it. I think I would recommend off the shelf units like that if you need it to fit the space, otherwise, I would go with a bigger skimmer. :biggrin2:

I don't know if you 'need' a wet dry...they are easy to add, just keep up on the nitrate testing.

Side note: I have a cubic foot of bio bale and am thinking of adding it to my ceph system just 'cause.
Thanks for the comments..I general have the same lines of thinking. Im just distracted by the small price tag my friend is offering it for. =)

Ive decided to go with AquaEuro Recirculating 265 skimmer

With the focus of trying to keep water temperature as low as possible, I will be running everything external.

My idea right now is to have the overflow from the 150 feed to a T that will go directly into the skimmer and also into a sump that I will house either or both macro-algae and bio bale. An external pump will then pump the water back into the tank..

Pretty simple and straight forward.

Once I get closer to putting it together, Ill draw a diagram.

Any foreseen problems or comments?

Are you indicating that you will run the skimmer from just the overflow with no pump? If so could you explain more about how this type skimmer works since we are also planning a new tank, I am always up for new ideas :cool2:
A drain from the overflow feeds directly into the skimmer body. Most often, you still need a pump to inject air bubbles into the skimmer but both the intake and output of that pump are through the skimmer body. A 'recirculating skimmer', or a 'recirculating mod'. Sometimes this kind of set up is run with two pumps - one for recirculation and bubbles, the other to push water into the skimmer body.
As thales explained, this is called a recirculation mod. It has been found to increase the efficiency of your skimmer for a few reasons.

-It will skim the water that immedietly enters the overflow
-It will produce finer bubbles
-The water will stay in the chamber longer allowing for more efficient skimming.

The original pump is modified to have its intake and output BOTH come from within the skimmer body, so all the pump does is recirculate water in the chamber increasing its time spent there as well as create finer bubbles.

The overflow will be plumbed straight into T where one end enters the skimmer and the other to a gate valve emptying into the sump. Depending on the amount of water flowing from the overflow and the capacity of your skimmer, you adjust this gate valve to controlthe amount of water that enters your skimmer.

Look up recirculation skimmers or mods on reef central and you will have hours of reading. I spent about an hour and 30 dollars doing this mod on my current ASM skimmer and I will never have a skimmer without this again.
Does anyone have any suggestions on a good 'not so expensive' return pump that I can run external.

My concerns are

-1000-1200 GPH (Approx 7-8x tank volume/ hour)

Thanks for mentioning and explaining the in-line skimmer - definitely on the design board for the new tank. I envision using the sump end of the tee for water changes :wink:

Please post any positive results you have with the pump search that meet your critera. We have looked at pond, pool and sump pumps but they have failed at least one of the first three (#1 being the cost) requirements.
Ive decided on a PanWorld 50PX-X. I got it used from a member on RC for 100 shipped. My research shows them to be very quiet and the stats meet my requirements. Also I found this thread Ultra Quiet Pan World Mod - Page 2 - Reef Central Online Community that shows how to make it quieter and drop the temp in the tank another degress or two.

I havent hooked anything up yet for Ive been busy making the stand.

My list of things to do:

-Drill the back of the tank for overflow (I think the bottom of the tank is tempered, so Drilling the bottom will not work)
-Get acrylic to make 2 overflows. (One in each rear corner)
-Make sump/refugium
-Add all the plumbing
-Research and make some custom agrocrete rocks
-Find a hundred homes for officianlais eggs.. =(

I was trying to do this as cheap as possible as well, but this project just gets bigger and bigger. The DIY aspect is still saving me tons of money, but things to not be thrifty about is probably the skimmer and return pump.

My costs so far:
Aquaeuro Recirculating 265 skimmer -280
stand - 102 - trim
90 - wood, panels, and hardware
150 gallon glass Tank - 200
Panworld Pump - 100

WavySea ocean simulator or the cheaper sea swirl.

I am concerned about flow. So far, I will have two overflows and a return pump that will probably return at about 900-1000 gph. The return will goto a Wavy sea wave maker and placed on the top center of the back of the tank. It will be set to point diagonally down and rotate 180 degrees covering the tank from left to right. I am unsure if this will be enough flow to not have too many dead spots for excess detritus build up.

A cheap way to add flow, but may add too much temperature to the tank is a maxijet that has been modded. MODS TINTING WRAPS

I will also need to decide if I want a shallow sand bed or go barebottom. This will probably be decided upon if I am able to get officianalis or not.

Ill post some pics and update when I achieve more progress on the tank. If anyone has any comments, they would be greatly welcomed. This is my first custom design of this size, so a lot of this is new territory for me.
Please keep the dialog going since we will be 6 - 8 months behind you (new roof, new heat and air unit and batteries for the pontoon boat come first :roll: ). This will be our second large (well large for some people :wink: ) tank but there are things about our first that I would like to improve.

We have been talking about making some kind of wave maker for this one so be sure to mention how well it works!

One of the things we did to create more flow in our 140 (3' tall so we needed extra movement vertically as well as horizontally) was to put the Hydor rotating reflectors on two of our return inlets (we have 4 drilled in the overflow and keep our fingers crossed that the check valve stays functional - there is a shut off IF we are home and the floor starts to get we :razz: ) and two more on 2 of the four forward recirculating pumps. These do a great job when they work and are very inexpensive. The ones on the returns have never given us a problem (we also have a squid connected between them) but the ones on the pumps have had to be replaced in less than a year and often "stick" instead of spin (the pumps suck up from below the substrate so part of the problem is junk going through them). We pulled one of the pumps and replaced it with the Hydor Koralia recirculating unit (basically a pump with a "fan") but it does not give the nice uneven flow that the reflectors provide (looks better though :roll: ). I expect we will use the same 4 port return (two high with the "spinneys" and two connected to drilled plastic pipe going down behind the LR) with a squid alternating between diagonal sets of 2 because that part has done a great job keeping the live rock and near by corals healthy but we are looking for something like a wave maker for the more forward parts of the tank instead of pumps with reflectors so let us know what you find and how well it does. Neal is thinking DIY at the moment but could be enticed to purchase.

Strangely enough, I think we looked at the PanWorld when we built out the seahorse tank (I remember the "built by a former chief engineer from Iwaki-Japan" statement but ended up with an in-tank pump - one of the "improvements" I want on this is an external pump and easier access!). I think price, space and noise were the reasons we decided on an in-sump unit. The new tank should have more cabinet space since the "cabinet" will be created from the space above the stairs and we have a lot of latitude.

We are too far behind you to join the cuttle egg roster but should you try to breed them, we should be ready for the next round.
Here is an update on my tank and also a couple questions!

The stand is almost done (minus the doors)



Got the Aqua euro recirculating 265 skimmer (Its big!)
Doing a leak test and breaking it in..


To gauge the size, the bucket it is sitting on is a standard 5 gallon.

Almost finished with the wet dry made from plastic storage drawer system, eggcrate, and acrylic. Cost 30 dollars.




I made a deep set drip tray, so I can add media and pre-filters here to ensure no detritus builds up in the bio bale causing the "nitrate factory" effect. The drawer will slide open for easy changing and cleaning.

Now for the Questions.

1. Ive never used an external pump before. Is there anything wrong with attaching a 90 degree elbow at its intake and then having it connect to the sump? Or should it go straight into the sump. The next image shows how I want it.


2. I will have two overflows. One in each rear corner. What is a better way for plumbing?

-Both overflows drain into a single larger pipe that will go straight into the skimmer. Any excess water volume that the skimmer cannot take, will go to the wet dry. The output of the skimmer goes into the refugium section of the sump, but not through the wet dry.


-Each overflow will not combine to a single pipe. One will go straight to the wetdry while the other will go straight to the skimmer and both output into the refugium part of the sump. I believe if i put a gate valve on each of these, I can control how much water will drain to which side. This seems like the simpler way.

Comments? advice?

That is quite the project you have there!
I am rather new to the ceph aspect of home aquaria, but I do have a 150 reef tank that I tend to do things a tad different in.
I have aprox 250 lb of live rock and aprox 5" of sand in my tank for biological filtration.
I have a wet dry that I use for capturing detritis in filters and the drip pan is basicaly used for more gas exchange.
I have my skimmer in the sump because I actually WANT a certain level of constant nutriants in my tank so do not need a skimmer that draws everything out. (I have a ton of harder filter feeders that I maintain) I also have been harvesting aptasia in the sump for added filtration.
Basicaly, that was a long explanation in that I do things differently and am very interested in seeing how your system performs!

The only thing I can say about your questions is that I never use 90 elbows for anyhing in my system. curved elbows provide less back preasure and better flow in general for me, so thats the way I go.

Thanks for shareing your progress!!!
Have you filled the drawer with water and tried moving it? I like the concept and would like to know the manufacturer (or at least which of the homes stores that carries it) if it works but I am concerned that the water weight will nullify the drawer (I filled a smaller one with an oops from my salt holding tank - set up as storage, not filtration - and it didn't slide well when I emptied it.).

I know you said you use the direct recirculating skimmers exclusively but Neal brought up a concern that also bothered me. I expect waste from my overflow that is larger than the skimmer is expected to remove. If you bypass your wet dry with the output, aren't you reducing you particulate filteration by a large margin? How does the larger particulate matter effect the skimmer?

Cabinet looks terrific!

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