Just thinking about it

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Lynnzer

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I'm considering turning my AquaOne 125 into a marine reef tank.
The costs of setting up such a tank are really high and I'm just putting a list together of the necessary tank build at present, not anything to do with the inhabitants of it yet.

So I don't have room for, nor do I want, an in the cabinet sump. I prefer the rear sump basis built to spec. Apart from the filter part of it, I would also like an auto top-up, skimmer and any other things to make it a full system. Refugium - is this something to be added as well or is it already part of the filter sump setup?

What pump(s) would be used and where would they be placed in the sump. Also pumps for water movement in the main tank.

I know there's a hell of a lot of things that I really Don't Know but I'm determined to get to grips with them all and move forward carefully.

My tank dimensions are as follows, all internal measurements of course.
Length = 77cm
width = 40cm
height = 39cm
If anyone can help design a sump filtration system I'd be grateful.
 

Colin_T

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Why didn't you just continue using your previous thread about this?

What sort of things did you want in the tank (coral reef or fish and corals or fish only)?

Last time I think you wanted to breed marines, do you still want to do that?

If you want to do fish only or fish and live rock, it's easy and doesn't need anything special. Corals need better water and bright light but most LED light units are fine for fresh or saltwater tanks.

Protein skimmers aren't needed but can help keep the water cleaner for longer by removing protein from the water. However, they also remove plankton and this would include baby fish and shrimp.

You don't have to go nuts with marine tanks. I had 18 inch tanks with corals, anemones, shrimp, fish and all sorts of stuff in. I used an air operated sponge filter, an airstone and a heater. No protein skimmers or power filters. You can make the tank as expensive as you like, or do it on the cheap. You don't need to go overboard unless you want a full blown reef that doesn't get water changes.
 
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Lynnzer

Lynnzer

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Why didn't you just continue using your previous thread about this?

What sort of things did you want in the tank (coral reef or fish and corals or fish only)?

Last time I think you wanted to breed marines, do you still want to do that?

If you want to do fish only or fish and live rock, it's easy and doesn't need anything special. Corals need better water and bright light but most LED light units are fine for fresh or saltwater tanks.

Protein skimmers aren't needed but can help keep the water cleaner for longer by removing protein from the water. However, they also remove plankton and this would include baby fish and shrimp.

You don't have to go nuts with marine tanks. I had 18 inch tanks with corals, anemones, shrimp, fish and all sorts of stuff in. I used an air operated sponge filter, an airstone and a heater. No protein skimmers or power filters. You can make the tank as expensive as you like, or do it on the cheap. You don't need to go overboard unless you want a full blown reef that doesn't get water changes.
The post that said I may be looking at a marine setup is one that's primarily about plants and how to root them firmly in sand. I feel a separate topic for a build would be better.
I'm fortunate in having a decent marine LFS locally who sells all the stuff I would need such as sands, corals, anemones, fish and crustaceans and tanks should I decide to forego the hassle of building a suitable tank myself.
I must say that I'm mightily impressed with the Red Sea E170 which is a complete tank with all the goodies. However at nearly £1300 I think the money would be better spent on upgrading my AquaOne 125ltr tank. I have some reservations though. A tank this size, although not massive by any means, will take a lot of time to get going. There's no way I could just put a lot of rock, coral, and other architectural stuff in it to bulk it out.

Having thought about breeding, I think it may be better to just go with a community tank. The clownfish, for instance, aren't likely to breed for perhaps 2 to 3 years. I'm a bit undecided on this abeit that breeding them would be nice. However, that said, they do seem to be rather prolific breeders just like the freshwater Kribs which from experience produce more offspring than I can easily handle.

I can probably offload the fry to my LFS when they reach a suitable size but dozens of them or perhaps even hundreds?

So right now, my eventual ambition is to set up a decent looking tank with corals, live rock and sand (crushed coral?). Of course, due to the expense it will be done slowly.

My existing tank has a SunSun 702B external canister filter with a capacity of 1000ltr/hr/. I'm not a great lover of canister filters though as the pipework is really awkward to fit between the tank and the wall that the tank and cabinet is placed against, and the hassle of taking it out of the cabinet for cleaning which inevitably means that it takes a while to get primed afterwards. That's why I wanted to build an in-tank sump filter which is more accessible. While it may be unnecessary when I have what seems to be a suitable filter already I really would prefer an internal sump type of filtration system.
The refugium idea is that it will allow a place to hatch brine shrimp and give a place for promotion of plankton growth that gets fed into the system. If a protein skimmer would kill that idea then so be it. I can do without it. However, one more thing : an auto top up facilty would be nice.

As the AquaOne has a slotted rear panel so that pipes and cables can be below the rim, any such sump filter would need to be along the rear wall. Personally I don't like the look of the tank with the top off as there's a cross bar holding front and rear glass together that always looks grimy, will be obstructive and spoils the look from the top. The covers aren't much use now as the centrally placed lights died many months ago, so the top is always open.
So that's my intentions at present. To get moving, the construction of the rear filtration system is my immediate task
 
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Colin_T

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Anemonefish can breed within a few months of turning into a pair. However, they don't show any care for the fry after the eggs have hatched. They look after the eggs, but the fry float off into the currents after they hatch. If the tank doesn't have too many fish or a power filter or protein skimmer, you can sometimes collect the fry in the morning.

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If you want to build a reef, buy limestone rocks from a quarry or garden centre. Make sure they haven't been sprayed with anything. Use the dry limestone rocks to build the basic reef structure, then add a few nice pieces of live rock on top of the reef if you want it. But you don't need live rock. People get a few pieces if they see tube worms or some interesting coralline algae on it.

Dry rock will turn into live rock over time and is considered live rock after 6 months in the water.

You can get dry sand for the base. It is a lot cheaper than live sand and the live sand isn't always live when you get it. If you live near a beach, you can grab a few buckets of beach sand when nobody is around. If you want live sand, grab it from the water's edge. You can grab limestone rock from the beach too, and seawater if it's a clean area.

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Can you run the hoses for the power filter down the side of the tank instead behind it?

Can you change the filter hoses and get some plastic (pvc) taps to go in the new hose?
Then you could turn the filter off, turn the taps in the hoses off, and disconnect the filter from the hoses. Lift the filter out and clean it, then connect the hoses up and turn taps on.
 
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Lynnzer

Lynnzer

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Anemonefish can breed within a few months of turning into a pair. However, they don't show any care for the fry after the eggs have hatched. They look after the eggs, but the fry float off into the currents after they hatch. If the tank doesn't have too many fish or a power filter or protein skimmer, you can sometimes collect the fry in the morning.

-------------------
If you want to build a reef, buy limestone rocks from a quarry or garden centre. Make sure they haven't been sprayed with anything. Use the dry limestone rocks to build the basic reef structure, then add a few nice pieces of live rock on top of the reef if you want it. But you don't need live rock. People get a few pieces if they see tube worms or some interesting coralline algae on it.

Dry rock will turn into live rock over time and is considered live rock after 6 months in the water.

You can get dry sand for the base. It is a lot cheaper than live sand and the live sand isn't always live when you get it. If you live near a beach, you can grab a few buckets of beach sand when nobody is around. If you want live sand, grab it from the water's edge. You can grab limestone rock from the beach too, and seawater if it's a clean area.

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Can you run the hoses for the power filter down the side of the tank instead behind it?

Can you change the filter hoses and get some plastic (pvc) taps to go in the new hose?
Then you could turn the filter off, turn the taps in the hoses off, and disconnect the filter from the hoses. Lift the filter out and clean it, then connect the hoses up and turn taps on.
So, early morning collection of fry seems good. Might be a way forward for a community tank then.
Fortunately I'm nearly at the edge of the sea whewre I live so collection of sand etc should be no problem, however I'm afraid that the north-east of England has had an environmental disaster lately that killed off most of the crustaceans in this area probably by some toxic stuff from Tyneside or Teesside. Perhaps I could collect sand and raocks then put them in a container to "mature" before i use them. I guess they wouldn't need a heater being from the cold north sea but may need an airstone. Sounds good anyway, but I'm also in a limestone area which gives me access to cutting some chunks from the local vicinity. Is the beneficial bacteria the same for marine as it is for freshwater I wonder, or are they different. I ask because I have plenty of filter medium from my freshwater tanks that i could use in a marine tank to get things going.

The SunSun pipes can't really be run into the tank over the sides. The rear tank rim is slotted so as to hide the pipework and to run them over the sides would look horrible. I don't need a tap on the pipes as they both shut off when I flip the top cover release. The pipes don't drip when the mechanism is released. It's just that it's clumsy and annoying trying to prime up after re-attaching the pipes.
 

kiko

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both of these designs would work.....
first one would be an inline pump so you can achieve whatever flow you want as the water is literally sucked from the tank through the sock
2nd design uses gravity so it'll depend on how fast water can pass through the sock filters
both designs are underwater line for silence and use tons of holes to allow fish to go in but still be able to get out of the sock partition specially fry
on the first design as it's an inline pump and you don't really want to use another pump...
keep in mind that fish will be able to get into the return partition so you'll have to cover the bottom of the return partition with gravel or something to prevent them going further back
also keep in mind you need to get your hands inside the sump once in a while to get things or to be able to take stuff apart...
back glass to main glass of sump should be around 5 inches to accommodate that
don't think of going smaller because even though your hand might fit inside it at 4 inches...when you want to turn things or use tools even 5 inches is a tight fit
also you mentioned water movement and adding extra pumps...why??!?
the crazy movement lets say at 1500-1900 liters in the 1st design should be more than enough flow
2nd design you can add a nozzle on the return and point it anywhere you want in the tank

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Colin_T

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Is the beneficial bacteria the same for marine as it is for freshwater I wonder, or are they different. I ask because I have plenty of filter medium from my freshwater tanks that i could use in a marine tank to get things going.
No, the bacteria are different species in saltwater compared to freshwater, and the freshwater types won't live in seawater and vice versa. However, you do culture them in exactly the same way (add a source of ammonia and let the bacteria grow). When the ammonia and nitrite have both gone up and come down to 0ppm, the filter is cycled and you can add fish, corals and other stuff.
 
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Lynnzer

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No, the bacteria are different species in saltwater compared to freshwater, and the freshwater types won't live in seawater and vice versa. However, you do culture them in exactly the same way (add a source of ammonia and let the bacteria grow). When the ammonia and nitrite have both gone up and come down to 0ppm, the filter is cycled and you can add fish, corals and other stuff.
So, and here's my probably totally wrong thoughts on bacterial growth.
I can see that it can take some months, or at least an extended period of time, to get rocks and sand fully matured into being "live". That is to start from a zero bacterial growth into one that can truly be called "live rock or sand".
Would it then make sense to gather these bits and pieces, put them in a container until they become Live? I mean I have lots of tubs I could use for this in my garage. If that sounds feasible then do I need to heat the tub, add lighting and then whatever I need to get growth going, such as packets of beneficial bacteria. I see there are packets of that which are dried just waiting to be added to saltwater.
If I add a couple bits of LFS bought live rock onto any limestone additions I assume there'll be transferance beteen them.

By the way @kiko many thanks for the designs. I'll be constructing the filtration based on whichever one seems to fit my needs better. Thanks.
 
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Lynnzer

Lynnzer

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I've taken a couple of photo's so you can perhaps advise better on where an internal sump filtratio0n box could go.
Looking at the tank from the front (there's a wall behind it so that's an obvious thing), the tank is on the only wall it will fit. To the left of it is a warm-air heater duct and a gap of around 12cm to the fishtank.
IMG20220915121458.jpg
IMG20220915121600.jpg
 
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Lynnzer

Lynnzer

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I think my best bet is to make the filtration system to fit in the left side of the tank. That side isn't really in view mostly as it's more or less against the wall except for a small amount.That being so, the tank width I plan on having after installation will be around 68cm and the depth will remain the same at 40cm, giving occupational dimensions similar to other marine tanks that tend to be deeper back to front.with the filtration on the rear wall.
Also as the left wall of the tank is to be used I think I'll need to have the filtration panels in black or perhaps dark blue, and also have the rear glass painted in the same colour. That will leave the front and right side of the tank clear for viewing.
I think the tank size will be fine and able to support a small community with a potential at least for some breeding activity, but mostly for the pizazz that a good tank will provide.
 

kiko

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myself I'd build it on the back...
a good size for you to be able to fit your hands inside would be around 5inches/13cm running along the 77cm/30"
with a sock partition this way being 5 by 5 and the exit or another intake sock another 5" and for sure 5" on the media partition in case something falls you need to grab it
and if you're going to have livebearers like seahorses or something you'd want the double sock one to prevent losing any fry
as seahorses are slow swimmers I'm not sure they're be able to fight off the pull from an inline pump and able to get back out through the holes
a double sock design cuts the flow from each sock partition in half as the pump is taking in water from both sides
with that design you need (5+3/4) (sock)+ (5+3/4) (sock) + 4.5 (media rack) which comes to 16"
leaving you an open space of roughly 13" not 14" (have to account for glass thickness)
then you need about 4.5" on the bottom to fit the pump so you're left with 8.5" to fit a skimmer
that's the way I would go as it gives you the filtration you need plus an extra 8.5inches (22cm) to put stuff you might want in the future like the skimmer..
 
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Lynnzer

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That sounds very well thought out. I'm considering whether or not to put an 11 ltr small tank refugium in the bottom of the cabinet though as a refugium seems to be a pretty important piece of the jigsaw.
I have seached online for black 5mm thick perspex/acrylic sheet and it's not as easy as you'd think. None of the stores such as B & Q sell it and the online stock cut to size is of insufficient total price for the retailers to sell me some. I'll be working on this for the rest of the week. There must be somewhere local-ish that stocks it.
There's an outcrop of limestone rock cliff-face at Hendon where I go sea fishing so I wondered whether it would provide good pieces of rock that I might be able use and turn it into live rock while all my other things are getting ready.
I drove up there this morning only to find the tide in and with a heavy swell making it dangerous to get a few gallons of sea water and fresh beach sand. I managed to get a couple of dozen litres of water from rock pools just out of reach of the incoming swell of waves but slipped on some rocks and went chest down on a pointed one. I thought I'd broken a couple of ribs. Fortunately it seems I'm just going to suffer bruising for a few days. I got the sand from the promenade that had washed over the railings and still wet.
The rocks at the base of the cliff seem to be fine for use as live rocks when seeded as such. I will look again and take a crowbar with me as there are some lovely calcified pieces of what appears to be vegetation and some that also appears coral-ish.
I've put them into a spare tank to see if I can get bacterial growth going with a couple of pieces of seewead that might help some.
I wonder if I could dye some colour into them?
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Colin_T

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The seaweed will probably rot and cause a massive ammonia spike and smelly water. If it starts to lose colour or become soft, remove it immediately.

Have some water movement/ aeration to keep things moving.

The bacteria grow faster in warm water so an aquarium heater can help speed things up.

The rocks will get colour when algae and coralline algae start to grow on it.
 
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Lynnzer

Lynnzer

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The seaweed will probably rot and cause a massive ammonia spike and smelly water. If it starts to lose colour or become soft, remove it immediately.

Have some water movement/ aeration to keep things moving.

The bacteria grow faster in warm water so an aquarium heater can help speed things up.

The rocks will get colour when algae and coralline algae start to grow on it.
OK. Out goes the vegetation.
After one of the most painful nights sleep I've endured I think I may have cracked a rib or two falling on the rocks. I'm in agony.
Serves me right. At 76 years old I'm taking too many risks, but although I creak a bit, my mind is still as agile as ever.

Oh, how would I know when the rocks have gone live?
 

Colin_T

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You don't have to remove the algae now, just monitor them and if they go soft or lose colour, then get rid of them.

Rocks are considered live rock after 6 months in water. However, they usually get bacteria on them in a few hours and can often be considered live rock after 2-3 months.
 

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