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Muppet of the Sea
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
MahnaMahna's Journey into the Reef - 55 gallon tank

CUT! Strike that!

MahnaMahna's Reef Journey - 90 Gallon Upgrade

Take 2! ACTION!

;) Yeah, I'm a dork, but I had to tie in the Muppet's and their movies somehow. :p

UPDATE: Corals added February 22, 2015. Pics of the corals are on page 10.

I had been on the lookout for a 90 gallon tank to upgrade to for awhile now. Ever since I started the 55 gallon, because I got a 90 gallon tank, stand, 20 gallon long tank for a sump/refugium, T5 lights and a bunch of other stuff along with rock that I bought. Yeah, I got the whole kit 'n kaboodle when I just wanted the rock. I got it all for $40. I was excited because I was able to upgrade! BUT - and that's a big but - the 90 came with a crack in the back glass on the bottom right corner. A crack that I couldn't live with without losing sleep and slowing slipping into madness. I gave the cracked tank to rininger85 and started my hunt for a new 90 gallon that didn't come with cracks and boogeymen that go bump in the night.

Here is the stand, 20 gallon long sump/refugium tank, and original cracked 90 gallon. That light is NOT the T5 light. It's just an extra regular hood light:
<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/tankstand.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

After many disappointing ends to my search for a new 90 gallon rininger85 sent me the link to the tank shown below and it is now in my possession! My husband gave me my upgrade by buying me this very nice and clean (and crack free!) 90 gallon for my Christmas/birthday present because my birthday is very close to Christmas. Yup, he's a keeper! :D This new tank came with some LED lights and glass covers. I don't think there are enough LED lights to support coral so I plan on making more to add to them.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/new90tank.png" alt="New 90 Gallon Tank" />

So now starts my next journey - transferring my 55 gallon to this 90 gallon, rebuild the sump/refugium, make a diy overflow, and eventually make more LED lights to replace the T5 lights I have now. The refugium part will basically be an algae trap to keep it out of the display tank. I've had enough algae with my 55 gallon to last me a lifetime. :p LOL! I'm also toying with the idea of cutting a door in the wall behind the tank to make accessing the sump easier. The tank will be where the current 55 is, which is against a wall that has the staircase to the basement behind it. I can't obviously have the sump on it's own stand back there because of the stairway, but making an access door through it may be a good idea because the stand only has one access door in the front. Not sure yet.

I'm also toying with the idea of transferring over the 55 to the 90 before I make the sump and overflow. If I make an access door through the wall it shouldn't be too difficult to add the sump later. But then I think about how much easier it would be to wait until the sump is built to set up the sump and tank at the same time if I wait and just get it all done at one time. But then I think it would be nice to split up the time it would take to do all of this so it doesn't eat up an entire day. I'm so indecisive sometimes. :rolleyes:

Here is a pic of the 55 gallon before I got the aquascape the way I wanted it. It shows how it is in front of the wall that has a stairway going up to the second floor and a stairway going down to the basement. It's the wall I might put an access door into to get to the sump under the tank and in the stand.
<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/55galcycledrock.jpg" alt="55 Gallon Saltwater Tank - Journey Into The Reef" />

The overflow that came with the original 90 gallon was busted (of course). I could fix it but I'd be constantly worrying if the fix would hold. I'm not into adding that kind of anxiety to my life. :p So DIY time is coming! :D I'm thinking of covering the diy overflow with cement to make it look like live rock, being careful to keep the attachment points able to be accessed if I need to tear it apart. Or I could paint it black with aquarium safe paint so it blends in with the black background like another poster has done. Or just leave it be and let algae cover the white PVC. We'll see how motivated I am. :lol:

Eventually we'll (read my husband because he's better at it, though I do help some) will build a canopy that will house the lights and add a finished look to the whole thing. I'd actually like a new stand too, but I think that's just being silly since I have a perfectly good one already. We'll see how it goes. (Which means we'll see if I can talk my husband into building me one. Perhaps enough puppy dog eyes and promises of cheesecake will work. :D )

I'd appreciate any suggestions and help on this. I'm open to any ideas! I've been doing a lot of reading on sumps and plumbing and I think I'm finally getting a handle on it all. Enough to make my own overflow and sump. :thumbup: It should be a fun experience.
 

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Muppet of the Sea
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812 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
So I've decided to go in stages with this upgrade because between work and a tight budget, I'd have to wait a good month or more to do it all at once, which is kind of silly when you think about it. Doing it in stages does the same thing and keeps me sanity in check. :)

I have a question about the sand. I don't plan on buying more because I've found I actually prefer crushed coral. I plan on adding crushed coral as needed (since syphoning sand removes some each time) but I'm wondering about the sump. Should I put some of the sand in the sump or should it be bare bottom? I am not fond of the look of bare bottom display tanks so I wouldn't put all of the sand in the sump, but how much sand should be in it if sand is best with sumps? Also, should I put a piece of live rock in the sump, or just leave those in the display?
 

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Muppet of the Sea
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812 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
LOL! No adorable picture of the sump yet. It's just a plain empty tank right now. :p But I should draw one up and make a semi adorable picture, huh? My idea is to make an area big enough for a future skimmer (because my current one is a HOB one but I'm looking around for a better one that is submersible) on the left side of the sump, then have a bubble trap baffle set up, then have a 9 or 10 gallon size section that will be the algae trough/refugium in the middle, another baffle with slots at the top to keep the algae in, and then a small section on the right side of the sump for the return. Nothing fancy. I want to keep this super simple because I hate overcomplicating things. So basically I'm wondering if the refugium section (which is actually just a fancy algae trough) will need sand in it. I'm thinking yes so phosphates grow and provide nutrients for the algea. But I could be over thinking it.
 

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Registered
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Idk, but I've found that sometimes with a specific question like this it's good to start a separate thread? There's so many different things to be into in this hobby, so there's kind of "sump people" and "coral people" if ya know what I mean. Like with my tank I made a different thread to pick a pump and a lot of gear-head types helped me figure it out, but I don't think they would have noticed the question in my build thread. Then I put a link to that thread in my build thread for my own remembering.

And yes, you must make a picture :p
 

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Muppet of the Sea
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812 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Cheapnoob, you're probably right about the questions having their own threads. I'll have to do that and just leave this thread strictly for the move over/build.

Today is the day I'm going to start the process of filling the 90. My plan is to remove as much water as I can from the 55 but leave enough to cover the rocks after I put the rocks flat on the sand. Then we'll slide the 55 gallon tank on its stand over. (We have flat wood floors.) Then I'll move the 90 gallon stand in place and put the 90 gallon tank on it. Fill it with water, put the salt in, stir it up, run a power head and put a heater in it. Once it is at the right temperature I'll put the rock in, then the sand, and let it settle. After that I'll drip acclimate the fish and snails and add them. That's the plan anyway. We all know how well plans usually go though. :rolleyes: I'll go with the flow and adjust as I need to. :) Because of the free floating algae in the 55 I'm not transferring the water, but the rock and sand is seasoned enough to make this switch. I'm not going to add anything new for awhile anyway. I want the tank to settle in first.

Even though my current tank is full of green water it is extremely healthy. Princess has decided to join me for a chat over coffee. She's right next to me, fins all out and pretty, hopping around on her little "foot." She looks the most content and happy she's ever been. Chicken is quite happy too. I hate to disturb them. But I know after they get settled in the 90, they'll be much happier. But Princess is being so cute right now... I'm so sorry to do this to you, Princess...

Pics to come. I've got my new stand cleaned and ready. Wish me luck!
 

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Muppet of the Sea
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Discussion Starter #14
The plan has gone well so far! :banana: The water is in the tank and I'm waiting for it to warm up to the right temperature. It's looking amazing so far!

I've decided to forgo the door in the wall idea to better access the sump under the tank. In fact, I've forgone having the sump under the tank completely. Instead I'm going to put the sump in the basement and plumb it straight down. Putting in a small hole in the wall sounds a heck of a lot better than a big hole with a door, and it will also be so much easier to access the sump that way. Plus, it will make installing it even easier. It's a win/win!

I've been taking pictures as I go. My next post will show them. I want to wait until it's done before I post the pics. :)
 

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Active Anemone
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Sounds awesome! Ill be following the move. The first issue i ran into is not having enough water. I created enough water for the tank but forgot the sump :(

My move ended up taking until the next day to finish. It worked out cause i wanted my buddy to check over my pipe work from drilled tank to sump. Found out i didnt have it tight enough and water was slowly dripping onto my stand.

Good thing we double checked ;) Keep up the good work. I had a plan/checklist i kept doing things in order and it seemed to go very smooth that way. Obviously you run into bumps you just have to face them head on.

Good Luck!
 

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Muppet of the Sea
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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks, blazend! My move over went fairly smooth and pretty much just as planned. I didn't write a checklist on paper, but I definitely had a plan set in my head. Even though it took longer than I had hoped, it went very well. :)

I never anticipated the move over taking a solid full day, but it did. I am SO glad that I decided to go in steps with this instead of waiting to do it all at once. I never would have finished in time and the fish and snails would have had to sit all night in a bucket, which was something I was trying to avoid. Let me tell you, after yesterday with the move over, I'm not planning on ever upgrading and doing that again unless it involves moving to another house where I can set up the new tank while the other one is still running LOL! Thank goodness I don't plan on doing that anytime soon. :lol: I'm also glad I waited on getting corals. I would have been much more worried about moving them.

So here are pics of the process like planned! Here is the stand after cleaning, but it isn't in its final location yet.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90galstand.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

Here is after moving the 55 Gallon stand and tank over and putting the new tank and stand in it's place.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90gallonup2.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

And here is the tank filled, including the fish and snails, but it is still cloudy from the transfer.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90gallon.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

I have to admit that I actually like the stand now. It fits perfectly in my living room and decor, which you all know is of upmost importance. :rolleyes: :D

The water in the tank is almost cleared up now, but I'm going to wait until it is fully clear to get a picture. I'll post that tomorrow. :) Next step is working on building the sump, but I think I'm going to take a little break and let the tank settle in.
 

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Active Anemone
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Looks great and i bet your fishys are happy. I noticed my big fish just giving them selves a tour of the new tank just happily swimming from side to side above the rocks. It made me smile.

I didnt want to add fish till my sump was setup so i actually made the fish live in 2 totes over night with aerators and heaters. All my fish survived tho!

First issue i had the second day was my wrasse was a bit flustered from being in a tote and me moving him a couple times he jumped into my over flow box. Worst thing, it took me 30 minutes to save him and i still have the bruises on my hand and arm to prove it haha. Good thing is no one died and they are all happy in the new tank.

Good luck on the sump and sorry i dont know anything about how to build your own i bought mine :/
 

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Muppet of the Sea
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Discussion Starter #18
My fish are finally starting to get used to the tank. In the pic above they were hiding and not venturing out at all. A little while after they started checking it out, and you can tell by their movements (especially the damsel we call Chicken) that they're surprised at the amount of space they have now. They move a bit further and discover another set of rocks, or a hole, or cave. Then they move a little more further, and further and further. Now they are trying to find the area they call home. They really like this one small cave above the sandbed. Princess, the goby, claimed it and made sure Chicken knew it. Chicken ran off and decided to find a different spot. It's been kind of humorous watching them check it out and find new homes. :D

Your wrasse would have given me fits! So glad mine didn't do that. :eek:
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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OK I'm a few days behind, but I found it now! So since I'm behind catch me up, did you make sure you left a few inches behind the stand if you are planning on doing a DIY overflow? and you will just have the pipes drop down then through the wall and follow the downstairs stairs to the lower level? Or going to rip open walls to run the plumbing in the walls? You moved too fast! I would have offered to come help drill the tank if I had caught you before you moved everything in to it... after drilling my 75 it's soooo simple, I don't think I'll ever not drill a tank again (unless it's not going to have a sump...) oh well. Just keep in mind if you are going to put the sump downstairs you'll need a pretty powerful pump to push the water back upstairs, and for ever 90 degree elbow you add it's like adding 10ft of additional plumbing, so you want to avoid 90's at all costs, using that same logic 45's are like adding 5ft of plumbing, so you want it as straight of a shot as possible without a bunch of extra fittings, so I'd come straight down then 45 through the wall then 45 down and maybe another 45 or two downstairs to get the plumbing where the sump needs to go... you are going to need a pretty powerful pump to get the water back upstairs because you are looking at probably 15ft of head to overcome rather than just 5ft if the sump were on the same level, so might want to look in to return pumps before you make up your mind as to where the sump is going to go... and at the same time you need to kind of make up your mind what skimmer you want too, even if you don't buy it all at once you should plan it all out ahead of time. for 90 gal tank + say 10 gallons of water in the sump = 100 gallons, so you want a skimmer that's going to process 200-300 gallons of water per hour which means you want your return pump to do about that too, so 300gph at 15ft head.

Another thing to think about is how much water is going to flow from your overflow to your sump if the power goes out (shut off return pump). If you have 15ft of pipe you could have quite a bit of water in the drain pipe so you can't have much water in the sump or it will overflow when the power goes out. Might be a good excuse to use the 55 for your sump instead if you are putting it downstairs? Then you could run 30-40 gallons of water in it for added stability and still have more than enough room for expansion if the power goes out (and the tank would be big enough you could even put a fish or two in the sump if you wanted company while you were downstairs working on the sump! =)

I'm planning on using my 75 for my sump, in the skimmer section it holds about 30 gallons of water, so I'm guessing its 35-40 gallons of water on the other side of my baffles where my frag grow out area is going to be, so I have room there that I might add a fish or two in that part of my 75 sump (definitely will be a molly or two in there for cleaning up / algae) and then I'm going to flow in to my 40B refugium which will hold about 30 gallons in the refug area and the rest is baffled off for my return area, so I'll have a molly or two in there as well and maybe something else once I get it stocked with macro algaes.
 

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Muppet of the Sea
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Discussion Starter #20
Rob, those are really good things to think about. I did leave room for the overflow behind the tank, Plenty of room actually. I probably won't need as much as I allowed myself. However you've definitely got me rethinking what I do about the sump, especially the part of leaving extra room in the sump for the water in the pipes when power outages happen. I'm not sure the exact route I'll take with that, but I've got time to think it over. Thank you for bringing these things up! Those are important aspects to it. :agree: I thought about asking you to help drill the tank, but then decided against it because I may want to upgrade if we decide to sell the house. I wanted to leave the option for those who would want a 90 when that time comes.

I know I said I was going to post clearer pictures of the tank yesterday, but I was sick, so yeah, that didn't happen. BUT I'll take care of that right now. :D

I turned the skimmer off to take the pictures. Let me tell you, I can't WAIT to have that skimmer out of the tank and put in a sump where it belongs. I hate those microbubbles.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90full.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

If you look closely, you can see Chicken (striped damsel) peeking out of the rocks on the right hand side.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90fullview.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

Close up of Chicken:

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90chicken.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

Princess, the female watchman goby, perched up on the rock like a kid looking over the countertop. LOL! And that thing that looks like a ghost is Chicken zooming away. :lol:

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90princess.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />

And here is a fuzzy Chicken (because he simply refuses to stay still) and Princess turning her back on us like the royalty she thinks she is. See that dark recess in front of Princess? That is the cave they both argue over wanting. Princess always wins though.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/7/2/6/7/1/90chickenprincess.png" alt="90 Gallon Upgrade" />
 
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