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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so I'm going to try to upgrade on a $500-$800 budget from my 20g nano to a 55g. This will include building my own stand & canopy with the goal of making it short enough for my 4 year old to see and tall enough for the sump/skimmer.

The basis for the 55g size is...

It's currently my freshwater setup (save$$)

Limited suitable wall space in my home. the best location only has 58"width and I'm going to have to move it all to a new house in a couple years

Equipment for this size will be slightly more affordable than for my 300g dream tank


So here's my first round of appeal for opinions...

1) Is my 20g adequate to use for a sump? (Any designs/drawings would be appreciated)

2) How much lighting should I conside? I'm looking to start it out with live rock, sand bed substrate, my pair of ocellaris, a condy anem and probably add a carpet anem for the clowns and a couple more fish that'll wind up being reef safe appropriate to the tank size. I'll maybe move to some corals 8-12 months down the road. No, I don't know what type of corals yet, so I'm hoping to put in room in the canopy to be flexible with the lighting.

3) What brand/model of skimmer should I look at? I'm going to use CList for most of my purchases of equipment (i hope) so i will probably be willing to consider a couple of different skimmers.

Let the good times roll!!!

:read:
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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1) Is my 20g adequate to use for a sump? (Any designs/drawings would be appreciated)
yes, its big enough. You will have to build the stand to be able to accomodate it but its a good size sump.
Build the stand deeper than the tank, let the tank sit all the way forward. That will give you some room behind the tank to bring the plumbing back up behind the tank and to allow the 20 to fit in as a sump.

With 58", you have two options. You could build a 4" end on each end to close in the tank and make it look something like an entertainment center would. Or, put the 10" on one end so that you could have the skimmer there (hopefully) to allow a shorter stand but still have room for a decent skimmer.

2) How much lighting should I conside?
4x54W T5 with individual parabolic single lens reflectors, retro kit to go into your canopy.

3) What brand/model of skimmer should I look at?
Depends on what you can find used on Clist.
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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733 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yeah, sorry the "micro" refers to the size of my budget...i'm going to try to keep this under the household budget radar :thumbup:

thanks for the input on the lighting that's about the amount of light i thought i could fit anyway...do you think i'll need to plan on a cooling fan for the canopy?

for proportions...i hadn't thought about putting the skimmer on the same level as the tank. that's a solid idea to help me keep the stand short. i could then create a door next to the face of the tank to allow access to the skimmer from the front for maintenance and the space in front of the skimmer can be a spot for a removable shelf to set some various testing and cleaning supplies.

for the skimmer, i know it's all up to the Clist fate but what do you think i should shoot for?
 

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The highest costs in this build with be the skimmer and the lighting.

For me, I would go with a pair of 150 watt metal halides and a couple small computer fans to cool the tank with vents in the canopy.

For the skimmer you could with something like the Octopus NW110 or 150, which wont really set you back all that much even if you buy new. Heck if I had about a month, I bet I could do the setup for around 500 or less. Especially since you have everything but the lights and skimmer... oh yeah, MarcoRock for your rock for the tank, move the rock from the existing tank over, scrap the sandbed (use a cup of the old to seed the new) a couple of the Koralia 4's would be a decent SPS minded tank, with a couple of 3's for the LPS/Softie lovers.

yeah, I'm thinking, 5-600 easilly achievable if you can find the right deals... follow ReefCentral classifieds and you will likely get 150watt MH setup for your tank less than 200 for both, add in a couple new Phoenix 14K bulbs and buy a skimmer...

NW110 retail about $150 new and the 150 retails about the same from Marine Solutions...

NW110:
http://www.aquacave.com/reef-octopus-nw-110-br-needle-wheel-protein-br-skimmer-750.html

NW150:
http://www.marinesolutionsinc.com/c...ewheel-150-with-Funnel-Neck/product_info.html
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thx for the skimmer suggestions tony...i'm leaning towards the NW110 - it's smaller footprint and height makes it an attractive option for keeping the size down on the cabinet size.


time for a new question...how difficult is it going to be if i want to drill this tank and do an internal overflow?

i'm really tempted to keep the work load down and get a hang-on overflow box like the CPR CS202 with the aqua lifter vacuum pump to limit the chance of breaking the siphon...suggestions?
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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8,887 Posts
thx for the skimmer suggestions tony...i'm leaning towards the NW110 - it's smaller footprint and height makes it an attractive option for keeping the size down on the cabinet size.

time for a new question...how difficult is it going to be if i want to drill this tank and do an internal overflow?

i'm really tempted to keep the work load down and get a hang-on overflow box like the CPR CS202 with the aqua lifter vacuum pump to limit the chance of breaking the siphon...suggestions?
Skimmer Height: Use the extra 10 inches or so you have for the skimmer to sit. It wouldn't sit under the 55, it would sit at the end of it. But the cabinet would cover it up. The cabinet would look like a U on its side with the tank sitting in the middle. The skimmer would be on one end behind a door. That solves any issues with the height of the skimmer, as long as it will fit in about 6-7" of space.

You better be REAL careful when you start trying to drill a 55. Very few people do it successfully. The glass is so thin and some are tempered and it becomes very difficult trying to drill them. If you want an internal overflow, you are better off with a new tank.
 

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I wouldn't go with a weir type overflow, and I wouldn't drill the tank either. Make sure that you use a U-Tube style overflow like the lifereef.
 

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55 gallon tank is not an ideal tank for a reef, you will be better off with a 75 gallon or even a 90, pretty much the same foot print. the 55 gallon tank are just 13 inches front to back where the 75 and 90 will give you 5 more inches.

as far as drilling any of them it's not all that hard, I have never found drilling to be hard if you take your time, just don't drill the bottom.
 

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Like Vinnie said, drilling isn't that hard, it's just the way that the 55 is made, I have seen people go through 3-4 of them before getting all the holes drilled in one..
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Skimmer Height: Use the extra 10 inches or so you have for the skimmer to sit. It wouldn't sit under the 55, it would sit at the end of it. But the cabinet would cover it up. The cabinet would look like a U on its side with the tank sitting in the middle. The skimmer would be on one end behind a door. That solves any issues with the height of the skimmer, as long as it will fit in about 6-7" of space.
would there be an advantage to having the skimmer at the same height as the tank? I will have to place doors in the bottom of the cabinet for access to the skimmer, which i'll need to get to the sump anyway. Also, would having the skimmer at the height of the tank require additional pump power to move the water through it? if there's an advantage to having the skimmer at tank height, i need some recommendations on skimmers that aren't submersible...because the NW 110 can only be run in-sump correct?

I wouldn't go with a weir type overflow, and I wouldn't drill the tank either. Make sure that you use a U-Tube style overflow like the lifereef.
thx for the suggestion tony, i've looked at them and they seem comparable in price, the site i looked at said something about them starting suction again automatically when a power failure ends and the power returns to the system, is this the main benefit of this type of overflow?

55 gallon tank is not an ideal tank for a reef, you will be better off with a 75 gallon or even a 90, pretty much the same foot print. the 55 gallon tank are just 13 inches front to back where the 75 and 90 will give you 5 more inches.

as far as drilling any of them it's not all that hard, I have never found drilling to be hard if you take your time, just don't drill the bottom.
i completely agree that a 75 or 90 would be the way to go if i wanted to buy a new tank. this build is predicated on using my freshwater tank to save dough. plus if i use it and build it a cabinet my wife gets happy because i'm moving it "out of the way".

If drilling the tank isn't a "necessity" i want to avoid it. if i mess up the tank then i'm sunk because i'm trying to keep the expense down below the household budget's radar screen (a little bit each month over the next 2-3 months will not be a "discussion"....;)



another new question...

how hard will this move be on my condy anem? am i asking for trouble trying to move it before the tank has cycled and matured 6 months?
 

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yes, you are asking for trouble, but only if you put it in the tank while cycling... what I mean here is... just move your existing rock and livestock over to the 55 when you are ready to transfer. Have some more rock curing in a small strerilite bin (you can get them from walmart for a few dollars) and add that rock to the tank in stages as it goes through it's cycle... either way , start with a new sandbed and use most of the existing water out of the old tank, but have enough of the new water to fill the tank the rest of the way up. That will minimize stress to the livestock during the change over.
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
use most of the existing water out of the old tank, but have enough of the new water to fill the tank the rest of the way up. That will minimize stress to the livestock during the change over.
so that i'm clear on your suggestion....i should pull some water out of the 55 tank AFTER cycling it to make room for the "old tank" water when i get ready to change the livestock over?
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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would there be an advantage to having the skimmer at the same height as the tank? I will have to place doors in the bottom of the cabinet for access to the skimmer, which i'll need to get to the sump anyway. Also, would having the skimmer at the height of the tank require additional pump power to move the water through it? if there's an advantage to having the skimmer at tank height, i need some recommendations on skimmers that aren't submersible...because the NW 110 can only be run in-sump correct?
If you built a stand that was 58" wide (which is what you say you have). The tank would sit to complete left or right but not in the center. That would leave ~10" on one end of the tank in the cabinet. That is where the skimmer would go. It would leave you about 8" inside the cabinet so you would have to make sure the skimmer body would fit in 8". The skimmer could sit at any height you wanted it, but I would put it in the sump. Then let it drain back into the sump, save yourself a lot of headaches. I have to leave in about 2 hours to make a 6 hour road trip but will try to post a drawing before I leave of what I am describing.
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The skimmer could sit at any height you wanted it, but I would put it in the sump. Then let it drain back into the sump, save yourself a lot of headaches.
That is what i would prefer to do anyway Hikk. I was just trying to see if you were suggesting the skimmer should be at the same level as the tank and why. But apparently, we both want it in the sump...no drawing necessary

unless you wanna design my sump :funny:
 

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Perfeshunal Hikk
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There is no scale to this drawing :



The dark blue would be your 55 gallon tank. The brown would be the stand. Its a U turned on its side. The light blue would be your sump. It doesn't have to be full width but it could be. The red represents where the skimmer could be. Doing it that way allows you to lower the tank for visibility while not limiting the height of the skimmer. You just have to be careful with dimensions. At 58" width, a 48 1/2" tank, and using plywood, you end up with ~7" in the clear width wise in the red area so that the skimmer you choose has to have a body on it smaller than 7" or it won't fit.

The left side would have a door that went from bottom to top if you wanted but it would have its own door to allow access to the sump and the skimmer.

The water would drain from the tank into the end of the sump where the skimmer is, the return pump would be on the other end. The water would work its way through the sump and then go straight up to the tank.

If you build the stand so that its 18 1/2" deep instead of 12 1/2" or so for a 55, the extra 6" would be where wiring and plumbing could go in and out of the tank. Then in the future, if you upgraded to a 75 or a 90, it would fit the bottom of the stand. If you designed and built it to do so, you could do it so that a 75 or a 90 reef ready tank would slide right in.

Plan for the future.
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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733 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks for the outline Hikk...i appreciate you taking the time to do that!

how much weight would you folks guess i'm going to have to support? with the DT? my calculations lead me to believe somewhere between 550-625 lbs
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
okay, so this weekend i rounded up 2/3 of my freshwater fish and brought them to my LFS and received enough credit for a 20g L to use for my sump!!

i then went to lowe's and stocked up on building materials. i ditched the idea of building this as one whole cabinet for a couple of reasons: it would have made the whole cabinet extremely heavy and with the limited power tools and frankly expertise, i thought building two pieces would be easier.

i started on sunday afternoon after completing a moderate length list of honey-do's...here's the first pics of the framework for the stand portion:



here's a top down view:



top ply is in place and the the ply for the trough in the sump is in:


this is a close-up of the trough depth, my calculations tell me that i if i properly seal this area it'll hold 10-11 gallons (let's hope i never test it)



today i went ahead on the skin for the stand. since i'm not cabinet maker i've opted to go with pine paneling on the 3 exposed sides, the panels are 1.75 inches wide, this shows the front with doors hung to check clearance, i'll have to romve them and hinges for staining:



here's a close-up of the paneling:



so that's all for now. tomorrow i'll be finishing up the trim along the top and sides. then hopefully sealing the joints in the trough and maybe even water sealing the wood in the sump area...

running budget total: $123.21
budget for whole build: $800
remaining budget: $676.91

thoughts?
 

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Just send me a PM ;)
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Looks good.. I may have a deal for you on lighting in a few weeks (2x150watt DE MH retro's).. I will let you know
 
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