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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
29G bare bottom + 10 gallon sump + large skimmer build

hey guys,
I created my self introduction thread earlier and figured i would copy my tank specs and water parameters over from that thread:

photos of tank in this thread: http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f360/hello-everybody-229694.html

as far as tank specs goes:
29 gallon aqueon tank
Reef Octopus 110 SSS
1 sicce xstream 925 gph wave pump (aimed through rock 'tunnel')
1 sicce xstream 1320 gph wave pump (pointed at skimmer intake)
Radion XR15W pro
pvc rock "tunnel" (pics posted in thread linked above)

6-stage RO/DI from filter direct (AR-122 i believe) 120 gpd

water parameters:
nh3/nh4 - BTR (below testable range) test bottoms out at .1 ppm
no2 - BTR test bottoms out at .1 ppm
no3 - BTR test bottoms out at 5 ppm, colour matches the 'zero' square
ph - 8.3-8.5
po4 - BTR (I'm not fooled)
Mg - 1360 ppm
alkalinity - 3.1 Meq/l 8.7 dKH
Ca - 410 ppm
am i missing anything?

tank has been up and running/cycling since april 8th, looking to get a small pair of clownfish perhaps next week (am i nuts? is this a good idea?)

I was told fish should be introduced and then the tank allowed to cycle again if need be before thinking about introducing corals, what are your opinions?

currently the only livestock in the tank is bacteria and some hitch hikers from the live rock (about 60 percent dry caribsea life rock and 40 percent LR from the local stores tanks). brittle stars and such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've been feeding lightly every day or two, using hikari bloodworms i have in the freezer from my guppy tank. ive been rinsing them with RODI water. also the occasional finely ground pinch of flake food.

about 60 percent of the rock is caribsea life rock (dry) and about 40 percent is LR from the local fish store. i saw ammonia for the first week (barely a reading) and nitrite for another week roughly, i had a reading of 5 ppm nitrate on the 16th, didnt do further nitrate tests until earlier this week (the 28th) when i got a zero reading, I've done several nitrate tests since all come up as close to zero as my eyes can see.

so if I've been feeding lightly every day or two (close to what 2 clown fish would eat but not quite) and have gone a week without any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate should I be ok buying my clowns? i can do a fairly large food dump and not see any ammonia.

that makes sense as far as avoiding corals until the uglies have passed, i can understand that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
perhaps, but only if they let me return the damsel; I don't want more than the two clowns in the long run as its not a very big tank.

they aren't wild caught and haven't been shipped or transported previously, would that make any difference? they were born and raised in the tank at the store they are currently in, eating commercial food and all that.

I've been watching them grow up for several months whenever i go in (all the time), since they were about 1/4 inch long. (ridiculously cute, like 50 of them all swimming in a perfect sphere just a bit bigger than a golf ball.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been keeping up with cleaning to an extent (heck that's why i chose bare bottom in the first place), but ill do a good clean before I introduce the fish. any recommendations on a good way to deal with the brownish gold (diatom?) dusting on several of the rocks? wondering about maybe doing a water change and pulling some of the rocks out and taking a toothbrush to them in the dirty water in the bucket.

As far as water changes, I've been changing out about 3-4 gallons a week. mostly as detritus and dust have been coming off the dry rocks like crazy. its slowed down in the last week though.

I have been using a turkey baster on the rocks daily, seems to work great.

how much does 1 brittle star eat? its hard to say how many are in the tank but i would guess conservatively there could be anywhere from 10-30 in there, still i cant imagine they eat much?

do brittle stars produce ammonia when they poo? if so would it be less ammonia than the food they ate to make that poo would have released if allowed to decompose?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I picked up two black and white Ocellaris clowns earlier today after a good tank cleaning.

I brought them home and acclimated them to their new tanks conditions by rigging up a 1/4 inch airline tube to quickly drip from the aquarium into the bucket the fish were in. Every 5 minutes or so I removed about a cup of water from the bucket (as the tank water continued to drip in) until I had removed about 1.5 times as much water from the bucket as it had in it when I brought it back from the store; at this point I checked that the water temperature in the bucket matched the tank water, and netted the fish and swiftly placed them in the aquarium.

they seemed more or less at home right away, and still seem to be doing really well.

they are both just under an inch long and both seem to like each other, they're hanging out like they've known each other since birth (which I suppose they have.)

- Sean




:needpics:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
they're so cute I think my cichlids are getting jealous of all the attention they're getting; they can see me hovering over the tank from across the room. :lol: ... Could just be me imagining it.

thanks for the kind words and checking my new additions out!

- Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
just for kicks, a photo of my (mostly) Mbuna tank.

it's rather dirty at the moment so I apologize for that (algae on rocks and such); I normally only let the algae grow on the left side glass because some of the fish like to pick at it in between feedings (check out the second photo).

enjoy :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
so I noticed a small leak in the 29 gallon tank; it's getting salt creep on the front glass on the bottom right. I decided to play it safe and go pick up a new 29 gallon tank rather than playing with fire (or water in this case), this one isn't rimless but it was 60 dollars which seems like a decent price to me.

I decided I might as well install a sump and get a better skimmer if I'm doing a major overhaul anyway, so here are some photos of the empty tank along with the new overflow box (eshopps pf-800) I received in the mail yesterday.



now I just have to wait for my new skimmer (reef octopus 110 sss) and return pump to arrive (should be tomorrow) and I'll start switching the tank and plumbing in a 10 gallon tank for a sump. I'll upload plenty of photos as I go.

- sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
so I received the return pump (sicce syncra 3.0) in the mail on friday, but was out of town for the weekend and unable to make any progress on the build.

I went to the LFS today, and picked up a 10 gallon Aqueon tank (15 dollars.. not bad?) along with some aquarium silicone to silicone in a baffle.



The baffle is cut from 1/4 inch thick sheet acrylic, it will keep the water in the right chamber right around 7 inches deep for the skimmer, while the left chamber will be slightly less (around 5 or 6 inches). The skimmer will go in the right chamber and the return pump and most likely a heater (and eventually a float switch for an auto top off) will go in the left chamber.

the right chamber measures roughly 10 3/4 inches by 10 inches. the left chamber measures roughly 8 1/2 inches by 10 inches.

I've read that a glass-acrylic bond is rather difficult to achieve, as the silicone can only form a mechanical bond with the acrylic; the difference in water level on either side of the baffle in this case is going to be small, so I figure there shouldn't be much strain on the purely mechanical bond.



it occurred to me once I finished it would have been smart to take some photos of the process rather than just the result. I suppose a description will have to do unless somebody wants me to go out and take photos of me prepping a scrap piece of acrylic just for educational purposes...:doh:

Essentially I rounded the two corners of the acrylic baffle with 60 grit sandpaper so it would sit flat on the bottom glass rather than 1/4 inch too high, then roughed up all the surfaces on the acrylic baffle that the silicone would be applied to with 60 grit as well.

I cleaned both the acrylic and inside glass with 99 percent isopropanol, and let all surfaces dry out completely.

Then I applied tape like the images show but higher up, and applied the silicone where the acrylic meets the bottom glass on both sides of the baffle.

after that I applied silicone up the side glass until I got to the tape. at this point i removed one piece of tape at a time and re applied it lower down where the silicone had already been applied (not quite touching the silicone), and applied silicone the rest of the way up the glass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
So I more or less figured out the plumbing today.

Here's a photo of the return pump more or less in its final resting place:



A photo of the prepped surfaces of one of the PVC joint immediately before solvent welding:



I found the solvent welding was rather simple, one simply applies the purple primer to the inside of the female fitting, then around the outside of the male fitting, then again inside of the female fitting, before repeating the process with the solvent used for welding. Once this is done you quickly insert the male fitting into the female fitting while rotating it 45 degrees.

After wiping up excess solvent:

 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
A photo of the (nearly) completed plumbing; I just need to figure out a means of fixing a filter sock, and I still need to drill a siphon break (brake?) in the return line.



I used 1 inch piping for the drain, and 3/4 inch piping for the return line (adapted to 1 inch for the ball valve and unions)

Another angle:



I've set it up so the tanks sit how they will relative to each other on the stand in my room after final set up.

doing a mock set up in the garage allows me to more easily cut pipe as I go and will make it much easier to run the set up and test for leaks since the drain and return lines wont be squished against a wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Close up "behind" the display tank:



and the sump area:



slightly different angle:



As you can see I used 3/4 inch flexible tubing to connect the pump to the rigid PVC; with any luck this will help dampen vibrations and thus noise.

in preliminary testing of the pump it does seem more or less silent but we will see once its all connected and running.

Now I need to wait a few hours for solvent weld joints to cure and then I'll leak test everything.

PS: tracking for the skimmer says to expect delivery this thursday, so with luck I'll have everything ready for final install by the time it comes.

- sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Okay so the system is now leak free.

I had to address a few leaks on the threaded adapters I used to adapt the 3/4 inch piping to the 1 inch unions and the ball joint; I had to tighten the connections quite a lot to stop the leaking (any tips?), but the system has been running in the garage for most of the day now leak free.

I figure if it goes all day without any leaks I'll leave it circulating overnight just to be sure and if all is good in the morning I'll swap this set up with the 29 gallon tank that is currently set up in my bedroom.

protein skimmer just arrived while I was typing the above. will report back with photos. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Just finished taking the old tank down and setting up the new system, following are some photos, please excuse the mess in my bedroom and the electrical to the bottom left of the tank, I still haven't organized all the cables; I promise the electrical hazard will be taken care of.

front shot of the tank:



close up of the sump:



and another full shot with flash:



I was surprised by how much room the 10 gallon tank actually afforded me for setting up separate chambers for the skimmer and return pump; I could have easily ordered the classic 110 INT (the non space saver version with the pump on the side rather than under the reaction chamber) and still had a few inches spare. The pump side of the sump easily has enough room left over for adding an Auto top off set up with room to spare.

The overflow box makes a bit of a gurgling sound but it is quite a bit quieter than the HOB skimmer that was running previously, and the sound of running water is easier to deal with than the sound of the air intake on the previous skimmer.

The new skimmer is extremely quiet, I can only just barely hear it at all if I stick my head into the sump and hold my ear against the skimmer body.

the sicce pump I ordered is quite something, I slightly over estimated the total dynamic head the pump would be pushing against (I estimated 5.8 feet) and I have to throttle it back quite a lot so that the overflow can keep up with it. I assume that the overflow isn't capable of anywhere near the 800 gph that is advertised, I also feel like sicce may be slightly under rating their syncra pumps, or at least this one.

One final note, I like the clear silicone on this tank better than the black silicone on the previous one, small difference I'll admit but something about the look I just really like. :thumbup:
 
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