Hugh's First Reef Tank... 150Gallons

Boaz1021

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This is my very first salt water fish tank. My only previous experience is a 5 Gallon Betta tank, so essentially no experience.

That being the case, I decided to start with an established tank (read second hand tank). It's a 150 Gallon reef tank, with sand, rocks, lights, and Fluval FX5 filter. It also has the base stand and topper. It was previously a full reef tank with clownfish, angels and some corals. They lost power while on vacation and lost everything in the tank and just wanted to get out of the hobby all together. I'll post some pictures of the tank as it sits, before I move it into my house so you can see the starting point.

I have planned to get rid of the Fluval and move to a sump system. I'm leaning towards the Bean Animal system, and am looking to drill the tank once I get it to my house, and before I move it into the living room. Where do I find what size pipes I need for sump, or how do I determine that on my own? What size sump should I go with? I was looking at a setup with a refugium and skimmer, but I'm open to suggestions. Also, what do I need to have at my house before I move the tank?

IMG_5312.jpg IMG_2638.jpg
 
Fritz

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Congratulations on your 150... I personally think it’s great size. I happen to have two of them— Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR). Lot’s of options with a 150. And welcome to R2R. People here can take you by the hand, step by step.

I’ll say that I’m too much of a chicken to ever drill a tank, so you are already my hero. Besides that, whatever size sump you go with, don’t overlook the obvious: Make sure it will FIT! Lol. :p Best wishes.
 
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Boaz1021

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Congratulations on your 150... I personally think it’s great size. I happen to have two of them— Fish Only With Live Rock (FOWLR). Lot’s of options with a 150. And welcome to R2R. People here can take you by the hand, step by step.

I’ll say that I’m too much of a chicken to ever drill a tank, so you are already my hero. Besides that, whatever size sump you go with, don’t overlook the obvious: Make sure it will FIT! Lol. :p Best wishes.
Thanks! Well, I'm an Industrial Engineer by degree, and machinist and programmer by trade... plus I do woodworking and 3D Printing since CoVid Shutdown started, so I'm pretty confortable with power tools, etc. I went with the 150 because everyone I talked to warned me that "smaller tanks are so much harder to maintain than larger ones"... yeah, but the cost of the 150 is a bit more than I originally anticipated. Oh well, too late now. Lol.

I've been trying to find some book that lists out the required volume movement for sumps to filter a 150 Gallon tank, etc. but haven't had much luck. Considering the guy I'm buying the tank from had all his fish die and was using the canister filter, I definitely don't want to stick with that. I've been watching a LOT of videos from BRS, and picking up what I can from there. My first purchases are a RO/DI system. I just have to figure out how to plumb it in the garage and feed the sump, probably just going to drill a hole in the wall and run the small feed hose through it... I'll have to see how it all pans out and where it's located etc.
 

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Thanks! Well, I'm an Industrial Engineer by degree, and machinist and programmer by trade... plus I do woodworking and 3D Printing since CoVid Shutdown started, so I'm pretty confortable with power tools, etc. I went with the 150 because everyone I talked to warned me that "smaller tanks are so much harder to maintain than larger ones"... yeah, but the cost of the 150 is a bit more than I originally anticipated. Oh well, too late now. Lol.

I've been trying to find some book that lists out the required volume movement for sumps to filter a 150 Gallon tank, etc. but haven't had much luck. Considering the guy I'm buying the tank from had all his fish die and was using the canister filter, I definitely don't want to stick with that. I've been watching a LOT of videos from BRS, and picking up what I can from there. My first purchases are a RO/DI system. I just have to figure out how to plumb it in the garage and feed the sump, probably just going to drill a hole in the wall and run the small feed hose through it... I'll have to see how it all pans out and where it's located etc.
40 breeder (40 gallon tank from petco) would probably fit in there, you can get them for 40 bucks. With your background you can easily design a sump around this, there are many designs out there and essentially all you need is silicone and acrylic/glass baffles. Saves hundreds of dollars. If you plan to skim the tank, a recirculating skimmer that can sit outside of the stand will save you so much trouble in a tight space. They are pricey, but you'll easily save that money by building your own sump, and you don't need the skimmer for the first couple months.
One thing that will add up as quick as the bills is the amount of wires running in the area, you'll want a bit of room inside the stand, not filling the entire thing with sump can make this a lot easier and more organized.
 
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Boaz1021

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40 breeder (40 gallon tank from petco) would probably fit in there, you can get them for 40 bucks. With your background you can easily design a sump around this, there are many designs out there and essentially all you need is silicone and acrylic/glass baffles. Saves hundreds of dollars. If you plan to skim the tank, a recirculating skimmer that can sit outside of the stand will save you so much trouble in a tight space. They are pricey, but you'll easily save that money by building your own sump, and you don't need the skimmer for the first couple months.
One thing that will add up as quick as the bills is the amount of wires running in the area, you'll want a bit of room inside the stand, not filling the entire thing with sump can make this a lot easier and more organized.
So, something like this?: https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/reef-octopus-dnw150-6-recirculating-protein-skimmer.html

I saw a couple of posts about "build your own sump kits" that were available... I was thinking of getting one of those, and 3D Printing supports/spacers if the silicone didn't hold. Have you heard of someone doing that before?
 

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That is the skimmer I am currently using for my 150s. As you probably know, there is a ‘break in’ period for all skimmers— but that being said, mine now never need to be touched. No ‘water level’ problems or anything else I read about people struggling and getting frustrated with. I empty the cup, filled with thick Starbucks coffee colored gunk, and that’s it. Period. I highly recommend that skimmer for a 150-gallon tank.

And ‘Yes,’ building your own sump from a kit is common.
 

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Congrats on the new reef!
 
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Boaz1021

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That is the skimmer I am currently using for my 150s. As you probably know, there is a ‘break in’ period for all skimmers— but that being said, mine now never need to be touched. No ‘water level’ problems or anything else I read about people struggling and getting frustrated with. I empty the cup, filled with thick Starbucks coffee colored gunk, and that’s it. Period. I highly recommend that skimmer for a 150-gallon tank.

And ‘Yes,’ building your own sump from a kit is common.

Awesome. I'm going to order that sump kit for the 40 breeder and get that skimmer. The details said that a pump was required for that skimmer, which one did you go with? Out of curiosity, how often do you have to empty the cup?

Thanks for all the help! Now I gotta figure out the plumbing and Bean Animal. Lol. I travel at least 2 nights a week for work, so I'm trying to put as many failsafes on this tank as possible. I'm also trying to decide on which controller to go with, and ato.
 
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You can build a manifold off your main return pump and feed the skimmer that way (include a gate valve for greatest control, or at the very least a ball valve), or you can even now find pre-made manifolds being sold on BRS. If not, then 'yes' you need to feed it with it's own separate pump. I would not buy anything more expensive/elaborate than a cheap Jebao variable DC pump off Amazon, like the DCP 3000 or 5000.
 
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Boaz1021

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I'm leaning toward this overflow box, partly because I recognize the brand name, and partly because BRS says this one is extremely easy to maintain.


If I go this route, I'll have to decide on the best way to plumb it. I'm leaning toward pvc with screw on joints, but might just glue most of them, and just throw in some screw on valves so that I can disassemble the plumbing if needed.
 
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Boaz1021

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You can build a manifold off your main return pump and feed the skimmer that way (include a gate valve for greatest control, or at the very least a ball valve), or you can even now find pre-made manifolds being sold on BRS. If not, then 'yes' you need to feed it with it's own separate pump. I would not buy anything more expensive/elaborate than a cheap Jebao variable DC pump off Amazon, like the DCP 3000 or 5000.
I'll look into the manifold and return pump. I'm leaning toward DC power because of the controller, and BRS tested a DC Backup battery that lasted nearly a week and kept the fish alive, etc. So I'm definitely considering that route.
 

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@Boaz1021, I have the 2400 gph version of that overflow in use now on two tanks. I love it AND I hate it. In fact I tried to give it a highly critical review on BRS that 'oddly' never saw the light of day. I even called it a "design flaw!!" (And this was after getting no satisfactory answer from Fiji; basically they said, 'We know what you are saying but it is what it is.') It CAN be made to work, but basically you have to gunk-it-up with silicone to the extent that it defeats the purpose of it being able to conveniently be pulled apart in-place for cleaning. The explanation is too long to go into here, but I can't say I would buy it again. :(

0A3106C7-76BE-4784-A146-8946DD696CBB.jpeg
 
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Boaz1021

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@Boaz1021, I have the 2400 gph version of that overflow in use now on two tanks. I love it AND I hate it. In fact I tried to give it a highly critical review on BRS that 'oddly' never saw the light of day. I even called it a "design flaw!!" (And this was after getting no satisfactory answer from Fiji; basically they said, 'We know what you are saying but it is what it is.') It CAN be made to work, but basically you have to gunk-it-up with silicone to the extent that it defeats the purpose of it being able to conveniently be pulled apart in-place for cleaning. The explanation is too long to go into here, but I can't say I would buy it again. :(

0A3106C7-76BE-4784-A146-8946DD696CBB.jpeg
What is that black film on the back of your tank? Is it just to hide the plumbing? What is that plumbing for on the far side of the tank?
 
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Boaz1021

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BC7CF94F-D229-4C7E-ABE3-D0DAE7861BDD.jpeg


The tank has been painted with flat black Rustoleum via a small roller; 4 coats, horizontal/vertical/horizontal/vertical, drying in between.

I think the object you see is the Pentair 40W UV Sterilizer.

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Is it common to paint the back wall black like that? I do like the way it looks from the front of the tank.

Yeah, that UV Sterilizer is what I saw, I don't think I've seen one of those before, but I have heard of them. Where did you get all of your valves and pipes from?
 
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Boaz1021

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I still have to pick up that 40 gallon Breeder from PetCo, but I think I have everything on order that I'll need to get the tank cycling water once I get it in, and in place this week. I know I still need a skimmer, and a few other small items, but I can plumb that in once the tank is somewhat setup.

Thanks to everyone for all of the help. I'll update with pictures once I start getting it put together.
 

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So, I actually got some sumps from the person I bought the tank from. He hasn't used them in years, so I don't even know what all I have.
 

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