The Reef Tank banner

1 - 20 of 646 Posts

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I think I’ll play along with the build-off as well. I have ordered a custom Oceanic tank, and while I’m currently waiting for it (and wondering if it will ever show up), I have been keeping busy with my current set-up and planning for the new one. If you look at my few other posts on this board, you’ll probably find a number of them about hair algae, which was the bane of my existence for about a year. I vowed to overcome the problem, and when I did I promised myself (with the wife’s wonderful blessing) an upgrade. The upgrade is mostly because I want to keep more fish (especially a few tangs, though I’ve yet to commit to a species) and I want to do so responsibly. I currently have a 58 gallon tank (36x19x21) with a custom sump (~18 gallons in operation). The upgrade is an Oceanic 156 (60x24x24) with a euro-brace and custom sump. I intend to build a stand and hood, and I built the sump last month, but I’ll give a documentation of the sump build as well.


Current hardware plans (though subject to change!) are a pair of Tunze 6100’s with a controller for flow, a Mag 18 return, 6-8 54Watt T-5 bulbs with Icecap ballasts and individual reflectors, EuroReef RS250 skimmer, AquaController III with accessories, MRC Kalkwasser with auto top-off plumbed straight from the RO/DI system, MRC CR-2 calcium reactor, and a Phosban reactor for running carbon. I have a ¼ hp JBJ arctica chiller, but I’m hoping to eliminate it on the upgrade (more water volume = more heat capacity, or at least they teached me that in school). I own all this hardware already (save for one of the Tunzes and its controller), so it should be mostly just a tank upgrade. I also have 100lbs of live rock curing in the garage along with about 80lbs in the current tank, though I’m not clear how much I will use. In an effort to continue to stave off the algae (i.e., control nutrient levels in the tank), I intend to have the tank wide open without sand. Finally, I hope to have continued and perpetual success with stony corals in this tank, as well a number of fish. I don’t know of anything exotic with this build, just standard equipment with standard livestock, but it should be entertaining nonetheless.
<O:p
I’m open to suggestions, so please speak up! Also, I’ve got a number of dimensional drawings I did in paint that I’ll post here in a little while. I don’t have a ton of space in the house, so I wanted to make sure that a new large tank wouldn’t be too intrusive. It passed the wife check, so we’re in good shape!
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not sure about the summer time heat with the upgrade. On my current tank, the chiller kicks on about 3 times a day in the summer (we let the house get to about 80 during the day), but I kept the tank at about 78 at that time. I plan on using fans on the new tank, and hopefully that can be implemented to keep the tank temp down around 82 or so in the summer. But, I won't sell the chiller until I can confirm.

Hope you enjoy the cyrillic title... I don't speak Russian very well, but I work with a lot of Russians. Just trying to spread a little culture!

But, onto the promised pictures. Again, I made these in paint, as I have no drafting skills whatsoever. But, they're pretty clear. The first one here is what the forward view will be. I've got just enough space on that wall (which is the reason it's a 5 foot tank over a 6 foot tank, again, if it ever shows up). The doorway there leads to the kitchen.





Second picture is a top down view. The same doorway is there for the kitchen, the left doorway leads to the living room, the back doorway leads to some bedrooms, and the right hallway leads to the front door. So basically this tank will sit in the entryway. You can see the space concern in how the tank sticks out in the entryway, but it still leaves 31" to get by (its a 44" entryway). And seeing as we're moved in, I don't see any major furniture moves in through the front door.





Final picture is a would-be from the front door. You can really see here how it sticks out into the entryway. Again, I still think there will be plenty of space, and we never use this part of the house anyways, so no big loss. The distance from the tank to the door is about 12 feet, and there is a dining room kind of "behind" the tank and to the right.


 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,625 Posts
Looking good, the title caught my attention because i am fluent in russian (and wanted to make sure you're being good ;))

let me take a closer look at your plan and i'll see if i have something to add.
 

·
TCMAS Member
Joined
·
5,667 Posts
MRC Kalkwasser with auto top-off plumbed straight from the RO/DI system


This is my only red flag. Ideally, you never want to have potential endless supply of water to your system. I would have a seperate container for you topoff so that in an absolute worst case scenerio if all the contents where dumped to your system it wouldn't cause a disaster such as a danderously low salinity or dumped too fast to cause PH concerned with Kalwasser.

Definately need to think that one through and come up with all the test cases and how your auto topoff solution would handle them. With enough redundancy the risk may me low but there is a risk.

For example: A guy in our reef club had RO/DI plumbed straight to his sump. Well, he also had a siphon overflow ( which is a large risk in itself ) but both combined was fatal. Siphon broke on a weekend so show tank overflowing. Return pump sends water to the show tank. RO/DI fills up the sump high enough for return pump to send to the show tank. When arriving home, show tank is now a freshwater tank and everything dead.

Second example: Guy had Kalkwasser reactor and float switched failed on. Entire topoff sent through the reacotr. Adding too much Kalk too fast and killed everything from PH over 9. Had he thought this through it could have easily been prevented by limited the amount per day via a timer or dosing pump or limiting the amount of topoff water that could be dumped in a worst case scenerios.

So think this through very carefully, and go over all the worst case scenerios and what would happen.

Ideally, water should only be exiting our systems through evaporation but not always the case, a leaky sump or other plumbing failure in itself is very bad but if your topoff is solely base on water level then it could make a bad situation even compounded.

Those are just 2 examples and can find tons more out there where people didn't think things through and design/plan to account for the abnormalities that can happen.
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey David, thanks for looking. I appreciate your comments. There are a number of steps that I'm going to implement (and currently implement) to help reduce the risk of a failure. Here's a quick list, and I'll get more detail when i get to it in the build.

1 - Three redundant float switches
2 - Two redundant solenoids
3 - AquaController programmed to come on for max 20 minutes at a time
4 - Flow restricted via needle valve to a max of 20ml/min, which computes to less than 8 gallons per day. With an evaporation of 2 gallons per day, this really restricts the catastrophy that I can do in a single day. And the sump will have 25 gallons of spare room, so flooding will not occur until 3-4 days later (assuming there are no other failures at the same time).

Obviously there are still risks, but this stack of controls should help eliminate most concerns. I've been running this way for a year already with no issues, but I do understand the risk. Thanks again for your comments!!
 

·
TCMAS Member
Joined
·
5,667 Posts
Certainly if it works for you and you have gone through the worst case scenerios then go for it. I feel bad when I hear of tank disasters that most times end up just a lack of planning and could have been prevented.

All those float switches an solenoids sound a bit more complicated than it has to be but as I mentioned you can't have to much redundancy but can certainly have too little.

Me personally, endless supply of water potential is a cardinal rule I just can't see myself breaking for any amount of convenience.
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You’re a wise man, Mr. Grigor. You probably use a quarantine tank, too! :biggrin:

But my experience working as an engineer in system safety and reliability forces me to appreciate the end effects of potential hazards, and this is not something I took lightly. Ultimately, because I have very little room near/around/above the tank for a store of replacement water, I’ve decided to do it this way. I would never try to convince someone to set something up this way, and I don’t think people want to read my entire thought process for each component, but I would like to explain the only 2 situations that I’ve come up with which only require 1 failure that could result with me in tears mopping up water.
<O:p</O:p

The first is a failed DC-8 for the ACIII. If an internal failure causes the port the solenoids use to have continued power (regardless of the controller setting) or I accidently program something wrong, then water will perpetually flow into the tank. I’ve not done my research on a history of DC-8 failing on, but I’ll definitely do so. Again, in this situation, I would have to be away from the tank for a number of days before it becomes critical.
<O:p</O:p

The second is a structural failure of a ¼” RO line or JG fitting resulting in a leak immediately over the tank. There will be a total of 0 connections immediately over the tank which flow water greater than 8 gpd (the limiting needle valve comes right off the RO/DI in another part of the house). Seeing as we use these connections for our RO units, and they don’t often leak, I feel this is very unlikely. Unless I’ve been fiddling with something, I don’t see this as credible once it’s running, and again, it would be a number of days until water becomes diluted or floods. I’ve calculated (roughly) that dumping about 25 gallons of fresh water in my tank (~160 gallons total volume) will drop salinity from 1.026 to 1.022, but over 4 days. So I would hopefully catch it before things start getting dangerous.

<O:p</O:p
Once more, I'm not trying to convince anyone to do this, but I’m pretty comfortable with this system (not totally fool proof, but I feel it's pretty solid). Keep asking questions, though, and look for some words on the sump build in a few days.
 

·
TCMAS Member
Joined
·
5,667 Posts
I've got so much stuff lying around I could build 2 or 3 complete setups if I wanted to so my quarantine has nicer equipment and more redundancy than a number of peoples show tank does.

Typically RO/DI units are in a utility room of some kind and would have to run 1/4" tubing to the tank anyways. Many dosing pumps can push/pull water quite far so having a resevoir remotely isn't that far fetched.

Being a DBA in IT industry where just about every machine has redundant everything, there still is downtime because of that one board that isn't fails so worst case scenerios and redundancy are just second nature to me. Not to mention having been a moderator at RC for many years and been quite active on the boards for a real long time you definately hear about alot of things that could have been prevented. Some you learn from, others you just shake your head at the bonehead mistakes.

Take Care.
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, David, I hope I won’t make you too dizzy with all the head shaking. No guarantees, but I’ll try to be wise and listen to experience…

I spoke with the guys who ordered the tank for me, and I got a story. At first I wanted to find a local tank builder, but they first wanted more than two thousand for a custom tank (5’x2’x2’). It was hard for me not to laugh at the guy on the phone when I got the quote. No other place local had decent quality, and most of the online custom places killed me with shipping. The one place local that did have great quality and a decent price just shut down right after I ordered a tank (luckily no money had transferred). So, here I wait for my Oceanic. I ordered it on November 18<SUP>th</SUP>. Yesterday I got an ETA of February 19<SUP>th</SUP>. This doesn’t impact me too much, as I’m going on vacation in 2 weeks and then have a ton of work at the beginning of February, but I’m a little amazed at the twelve week turnaround (mostly because I was first quoted 4 weeks). I’m resolved to have the tank in hand before building any of the stand/hood, as I want to take measurements myself. So, anyways, maybe the tank will have water in it around April or May.<O:p</O:p
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
But, my resolution did not restrict me from building a sump. I think I know how my stand will come out, and I would like to be able to remove the sump for any maintenance/periodic cleaning, which leaves me a pretty specific width that I could build the sump to (about 18”). Also, because I have all the equipment that I want to put under the tank, I was able to measure out the specific dimensions of the sump. I drew it up before I built it to make sure that everything fit correctly (again, paint to the rescue!), and ordered the acrylic. Here is the drawing;





<O:p</O:pObviously the hardware is in green, but from left to right in the sump is a refugium (which has the CR positioned over it), then the return section (with phosban reactor and mag 18), and then the skimmer section (which has the skimmer and a small pump to supply the phosban and CR). Nothing extravagant. The dimensions of the sump came out to be 37”x18”x18”, for a total volume of about 50 gallons, and a working volume of about 23 gallons (so spare room for about 25 gallons). Maybe next time I’ll post actual pictures!<O:p</O:p
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As promised, here are a few pictures. This is the second sump I’ve built, and it turned out pretty well in the end. I got most of my ideas from www.melevsreef.com, so head over there if you are interested in trying this yourself. Below is a bunch of pictures I took during the build.

Here is all the acrylic once I cut it out. I used acrylite ff with a film mask, but I would recommend getting a paper mask as it is much easier to mark your cuts.



<O:pOnce I got it all cut, I started setting up to glue the front and back to the base. One thing I did not do was remove the film, but looking back I should have at least pulled it away from the glued edges… the solvent will wick up the mask and mar the finish a little. Functionally, this is no big deal, but it uglies it up a little.


<O:p</O:p

And here it’s waiting for the back;





Allowing it to cure a little over night;





Then I put the 2 sides in place and let it set over night;





Then it was time for some baffles. I really hate building jigs for one time uses, and so for the refugium I just cut the teeth by hand. It may not have turned out perfectly, but it works quite well. The one piece of wood there is clamped to make the depth of the teeth consistent.




But here it is with all the baffles setting in place;


 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here I actually felt quite smart with myself. Once I glued the top on, I needed a way to route the lip for the brace. Again, I really didn’t want to build a jig. I wanted a 2” lip, and as it turns out the base of my router has a 1.25” radius after accounting for the router bit. So I screwed a 0.75” thick piece of wood to the wall and used the wall for a fence. It turned out pretty well. You do have to use a little bit of freehand towards the edges to ensure that you don’t over cut, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out. Here are a couple of shots during that process.








So once that was done, I did a clean up (which is a pain with the little acrylic chips everywhere), and then let it sit for about a week with water in it to the brim. No leaks, hooray!!

 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks! I've done a little more and I'll write it up later. I've got a lot more photos, so if you'd like a better "how to" i'd be happy to supply some words. My expertise isnt great, but if it helps someone learn at least what NOT to do, i'm sure it's worth something. Just let me know.
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A couple of weeks later I got bored and decided to start in on some of the planning/detail work for the sump. I wan to kind of route hoses and electrical lines through clamps on other various restraints in order to keep things at least in a semblance of tidiness (even if it's merely a charade). The first thind i did was secure a place for some JG bulkheads and "drip spouts" for the kalkwasser and calcium reactor effluents. Those are going into the return section of the sump



Second piece was just some simple probe holders. I put these between some of the baffles in the bubble trap.



I also wanted to build a box for some float switches to pretect them from snails and water surges. The first picture here is right after I built it (it sits in place in the return section by hooking onto the bubble trap baffles), and then again with the float switches installed and wired. They are wired in series, and the box comes apart with nylon screws so that I can maintain them as necessary.





Finally I built a little mount for some solenoids and a needle valve for the auto top-off. It will also attach to the lip brace with nylon screws so that I can remove it if needed.



So that catches me up to date with the build so far. I've still got to glue some of the hose restraints, but I'm still not convinced where they are going to fit. I did a dry fit of most of the equipment yesterday, and the solenoids actually interfere with the CR a little. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures. This may result in removing the CR from the sump, which could free up a lot of room in the sump. This will only be possible if I can eliminate the chiller, as I don't have excess acreage to begin with. I also realized (though it's been in the back of my mind all along), that no matter how much you plan, you're never going to have enough space. Cripes!

Anyways, hope everyone enjoys the pictures. I'd love comments if you have any!
 

·
spaceman spiff
Joined
·
11,769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well thank you, Whiskey! I am very interested in keeping everything clean under the tank, but we'll see how well it turns out in the end. Hopefully I will have success.

The part number at www.mcmaster.com for those solenoids is 7877k53. I've seen the same solenoids at other places (primarily www.autotopoff.com), but they $35 instead of $19. The only benefit from getting them at autotopoff is that they install the JG fittings (coming from mcmaster you're only going to get the solenoid, so you need to buy a JG fitting to get them to work, something like this http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/pr...USPlastic&category_name=26484&product_id=7078) and they wire it up as well. They work pretty well, but they seem to get hot if they are left on. I dont know if that impacts their functionality at all, but I make sure that they are only on for short periods at a time (something like 5-10 minutes every half hour or so). Hope this helps!

Chris
 
1 - 20 of 646 Posts
Top