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Old 08-10-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
Hammer0331
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Sample Diagram of Tank set up

Howzit all, I am about to purchase a new 120 gal tank and am wondering if anyone has, or can make, a diagram of how a regular reef tank is set up, to include all it's functioning parts, i.e. :
sump tank, RO/DI filters, overflows, skimmers.
Basically I am trying to figure out how and what I need to set up the plumbing for the new tank. I am still confused as to how I would do water changes for a tank this big also, would I have to add water manually to the sump to top it off or do I connect the RO/DI filter directly to a water pipe and it tops it off automaticlly...and is it a "closed circut" regarding the waste water. Meaning, when I do change out the water do I need to dump it somewhere or does the old water get recycled through the system, filtered anda then put back into the main display tank? Still a newbie to the game and any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:07 PM   #2
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There are way too many options to write up a single tank diagram. You can click on my the thread in my signature and see how I've done it (I've set up a number of links in the first post to the entire build).

You can hook the RO/DI directly up to the tank, but there's a huge risk of the setup getting stuck on, which can result in a flood and diluting the tank (and killing all the inhabitants). Seldom is it the best choice.

For water changes, the waste water is just thrown down the drain. There are a few uses for it if you have multiple systems, but most of the time it just hits the drain.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:30 PM   #3
Hammer0331
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thanks crvz. So the way I understand it, if I have a 20gal resevoir to top off the sump, all I need to do is hook up the RO/DI unit to, say my kitchen sink, then in turn the output water from my sink will be RO/DI quality. Then all I have to do is transfer water,manually by buckets, from the sink to the resevior when needed?
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
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Your almost there. The RO/DI unit will have it's own output, a valve or something. You won't use the sink faucet. You tap it into the cold water line to the sink, as well as the drain line from the sink. The flow rate out of the RO/DI setup will be really slow, not something you'll want to use nominally. And while it's making water, there will be plenty of waste water which just goes right down the drain. Anyways, you fill up buckets (it will take time, often hours) and then go fill the reservoir.
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:27 PM   #5
Hammer0331
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Wow, now I see the need for a resevoir since the output flow of the RO/DI is so slow. But it makes more sence now overall. I also read up on the disasters that could happen if the resevoir was hooked up to a constant flow of water i.e. having it fail and turn the tank into, basically, a freshwater tank. thanks for the help crvz.
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:58 PM   #6
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At the most basic level if you have a drilled/RR tank the overflow will have a bulkhead fitting in it...most are drilled on the bottom and use a durso standpipe


but some are drilled on the back and use an overflow box. To the "bottom" side of this bulkhead you will attach some type of plumbing (hose/tubing, spaflex, rigid PVC) so gravity can carry the water to the sump.

Sumps have too many designs to go into, you'll have to look around and see what you like. I personally like a simple design with enough room to house heaters, skimmer, etc. From there you will need a pump to get the water back up to the display tank...this can be a submersible or the sump can be drilled and use an external pump.

As for the RO/DI and top-off you'll want to setup your RO/DI as close to the tank as practical so you don't have to lug water any further than needed. Top-off water can be added manually each day, but an auto top-off device is very nice. I just have a container that holds several gallons of water with a float valve on it which sits on top of my sump, but that's in my basement fish room with tons of extra room. I like this method as it's pretty fail proof and even with a total failure it can only add a few gallons of fresh water to the system. The other option is a pump fed ATO. If this option works better for you you'll need to look up some designs. Most people set it up with 2 float switches, but again there are all kinds of designs using solenoids etc.

Lastly most people do water changes via buckets, trashcans, etc. You'll most likely want to siphon out the old water from the sump then siphon, pour, pump, the new water back into the sump. This way the water level in the display remains constant. There are various ways to make the water changes easier/semi-automated, but unless you have a dedicated room behind or below your tank most will not be an option.

Some of that may be overly simplistic, but hopefully it is helpful.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:16 PM   #7
Hammer0331
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Thanks Jnicho, overly simple is what I was going for. added to what crvz explained to me, it all seems to be making sence in my head now...the pic of the overflow helped a lot, I am a visual learner. thanks guys
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:17 AM   #8
Loverotties
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Always easyer with a pic!Nice pic too!
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