The Long Awaited Return

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
Hi folks! Although I've been out of the hobby for over 30 years, I still harbored a hope to return one day. Well, this is the year! I took advantage of the shutdown to do a lot of research and plot my return. I thought I would take this opportunity to share my steps along the way.

PROLOGUE - Part 1

A) I started with aquascaping. It may be a bit odd to start here, but I wanted to see if I could give form to my vision. I knew I wanted to do a little more than just stack rocks. I ordered 80# of dry rock and started making little pieces out of big chunks. I taped out the dimensions of my planned tank and started building structures. I tried to keep in mind where I could ultimately place the corals I hope to get. A little trial and error yielded something that I think will fit the bill. I'm still a little concerned about the scale, but I can address that in the future. Any feedback is appreciated.

B) Ordered DT. I live in a second floor condo, so size was a consideration. Also placement. Load bearing walls necessitated a few locations in our home. My wife made the final call. Fortunately, the tank will be in our great room. I decided to go with the Innovative Marine INT 100. (https://www.innovative-marine.com/shop/INT-100-Aquarium-w-APS-Stand-White-p222355430). I was inclined to go shallow, but felt a 16" depth was not quite enough room for what I wanted this time around. The 20" depth of the INT 100 gave me a bit more room, without the additional weight a 24" would have meant. The tank is scheduled to ship in October.

C) Ordered Sump. I put together a spreadsheet of the sumps I was considering. One criteria I was firm on was the need for a refugium. There are so many great choices out there, narrowing it down was difficult. I ultimately went with the Eshopps Alpha-300. (https://www.eshopps.com/filters/alpha-fuge/af-300). I couldn't find much online feedback regarding that model, so this was a little bit of a flier. I'll be sure to review it when I start assembling everything.

So this is my start! I anticipate this thread to take a good 9-12 months to cover my start-up, so I wanted to get going with it now. (It's much easier to write a little bit at a time). Because of my long absence from the hobby, any feedback is welcome. IMG_1714.jpeg IMG_1715.jpeg IMG_1716.jpeg IMG_1717.jpeg IMG_1718.jpeg IMG_1719.jpeg IMG_1720.jpeg IMG_1721.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1722.mov
    23.7 MB · Views: 22
Last edited:
Maxout
OP
Scotty8284

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
My tank has arrived! My nephew and his friend were able to bring this hefty piece of equipment up to our 2nd floor condo. They sure earned their beer money that night! I picked up a pair of Hydra 32HD lights, and put my new sump in the cabinet. The one concern I have right now is the sump fills almost all of the cabinet leaving little room for anything else. When I estimated the size available inside the cabinet, there was an error on the IM website regarding interior length, so it's a squeeze. I also followed some advice that I should get as big a sump as possible. Not sure that's the right thing to do. If I can sell the sump, I'll get something a little smaller. The sump cost $599, but I'd be willing to take $499 for it!
IMG_1745.jpeg
IMG_1746.jpeg
 

MikeIkerson

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
53
Reaction score
71
I also have an oversized sump. My tank is only a few months old but I love how big it is. I would suggest keeping the sump you have and either buying a nice looking ATO reservoir or putting a cabinet or something similar near your tank and running the ATO through there. My sump is only 12 inches shorter than my display so I have no room for an ATO in the stand. I put a 29 gal tank in a cabinet next to my tank and plumbed it to my water changing station. Now I literally never fill the ATO, it fills itself controlled by a BRS float valve.
 
OP
Scotty8284

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
I also have an oversized sump. My tank is only a few months old but I love how big it is. I would suggest keeping the sump you have and either buying a nice looking ATO reservoir or putting a cabinet or something similar near your tank and running the ATO through there. My sump is only 12 inches shorter than my display so I have no room for an ATO in the stand. I put a 29 gal tank in a cabinet next to my tank and plumbed it to my water changing station. Now I literally never fill the ATO, it fills itself controlled by a BRS float valve.
That's great insight. Thanks for the suggestion. I bet that's what I'll wind up doing!
 

revhtree

Owner Administrator
View Badges
Marketplace Rating
100
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
42,388
Reaction score
64,051
WOW welcome back!
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
OP
Scotty8284

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
This weekend I decided it was time to plumb the sump. It went pretty well, but I'm still glad I ordered extra parts. That was sound advice I read on R2R! Only had two mistakes that were unsalvageable. The Eshopps Alfa-fuge has a CENTER drain area, which presented some challenges, especially since the DT has an internal overflow. But it all worked out.

IMG_1757.jpeg IMG_1758.jpeg IMG_1759.jpeg IMG_1760.jpeg
 
OP
Scotty8284

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
Time for an update:

November 14th, started filling the tank with water. Everything went well! No leaks, no problems. Got all the equipment started, and with a little trial and error, everything is humming along.

Equipment (so far):

Pump: Vectra M2
Powerheads: MP40
Lights: AI Hydra 32
Heaters: Finnex Titanium HMA-300S
Heater Controller: Inkbird 306A
Protein Skimmer: Octo Regal 150-INT
Sump: Eshopps AF-300

I had second thoughts about the sump when I first got it, but I'm very glad I kept it. Eshopps has done a great job with the Alpha-fuge. I wasn't sure how the "Channel Design" would actually function, but it does exactly what it advertises. There is a 3 way separation from the drain section: Refugium, Skimmer & Media Baskets. Then all 3 drain directly into the return section. Unlike other sumps, where one section flows into an other, these maintain their separation. The return section has a float valve built in for use with an ATO. I wrestled with using the float valve versus an ATO pump, but especially after watching the Reef Builders video where Jake Adams extolls the virtue of the float valve, I thought I'd give it a try. I used a plastic pail to hold the water, drilled a hole for a fitting, and ran tubing to the sump. So far, it's been working like a charm. Now that I know that it works, I'll set up a more refined solution to fit inside the stand.

Since we were going away for Thanksgiving, I decided to hold off on livestock until we returned. My next post will detail how I started stocking my reef.
IMG_1780.jpeg
 

DC Reefer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
576
Reaction score
732
Location
Boulder
I like how your scape turned out and your plumbing looks professionally done as well!!!! Nice job. Looking forward to seeing the stocking and maturing of the tank.
 

[Cameron]

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 18, 2018
Messages
241
Reaction score
198
Location
Cape Coral, FL
Still trying to figure out how the water flows through the sump. I assume the first and second drain pipes (counting from the back) are emergency drains. The normal drain is closest to the front with the gate valve. From there water flows into the fuge through the bottom and then over the top into the return.

What is confusing me is how water enters the skimmer section and then exits into the return. Also is there no way to adjust the skimmer section water height? Lastly how loud is the sump water flow?

Thanks.
 
Lazys Coral House
OP
Scotty8284

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
Still trying to figure out how the water flows through the sump. I assume the first and second drain pipes (counting from the back) are emergency drains. The normal drain is closest to the front with the gate valve. From there water flows into the fuge through the bottom and then over the top into the return.

What is confusing me is how water enters the skimmer section and then exits into the return. Also is there no way to adjust the skimmer section water height? Lastly how loud is the sump water flow?

Thanks.
I agree, it is confusing, and I wish @Eshopps had done a better job of explaining it. However, It really does work!

Let me try to answer your questions.

You can set the drain pipes any way you want, but the way you described makes the most sense. Gate valve in front for ease of access, the remaining two for emergency. For me, the first position (from the back) is where I have the secondary drain, and the middle position is my emergency drain. Once the water enters the drain section of the sump, it's diverted in three different directions.

First, UNFILTERED water enters the refugium through the slots in the bottom of the drain section, and follows the path you described above.

Second, because a limited amount of water enters the refugium, the drain section fills and some UNFILTERED water is diverted to the media baskets via slots at the top of the drain section.

Third, the bulk of the water then "overflows" the drain section and is sent to the 7" filter sock. From the bottom of the filter sock chamber, there are slots that empty the water into the skimmer section.

Here's how everything gets back to the return chamber: the drain/filter sock chambers DO NOT go fully to the bottom of the sump! there is a channel that flows underneath that section that carries the water from the skimmer section to the return section, where it is joined with water from the refugium and the media baskets.

Regarding skimmer section height, you are correct, there are no baffles to adjust the water height. However, In my situation, the water height was right where I needed it to be for my skimmer to work perfectly, right about 7" (which is higher than the return chamber water height). My guess is that it was designed for that height. But there may be another answer. Because the channel from the skimmer to the return can only carry so much water, it may be that you can manually add more water to the skimmer section to raise the height of the water level, but it still drains at the same rate, maintaining the level you want. Of course, you would have to add the water while the return pump is running, since this would maintain the proper levels in all other chambers. This is a guess, since my knowledge of fluid dynamics is nil.

I do know when I put my pumps into feed mode, the skimmer section and return section both fill with water from the overflow and drain line, as it would with any sump. This will cause the skimmer to overflow if you forget to set the skimmer into feed mode as well, or in my case, I have a float valve in the skimmer that shuts it down. When the pumps go back on, everything returns to their previous levels.

Regarding noise level, I find it surprisingly quiet. Not silent, but quiet. The only noise I hear is a small trickling of water from the refugium and media baskets as they drain into the return section. With the doors of the cabinet closed, it's barely noticeable. I hear nothing from the drain section. This of course requires that you have your gate valve dialed in correctly to regulate the flow into the sump. The most noise I hear is from the overflow box in the display tank. I can hear some water as it goes down the secondary drain. A little fine tuning of the gate valve should stop that. Also, if your overflow has a cover on it, that would mitigate the noise, as well.

I hope this answers your questions.

Oh, one more thing. Regarding the filter socks, I use felt socks. One came with the sump. The Eshopps filter sock is about 13" long. I bought a second filter sock from my LFS; it was a BRS brand, and is about 16" long. So the bottom of the sock is folded on the bottom of the sock chamber. The noise from the water falling into the socks was at first noticeable, but not loud. I recently bought a 10 pack of filter socks from @Innovative Marine (great price at just a little over $5.00/sock https://www.innovative-marine.com/shop/200-Micron-Felt-Filter-Sock-w-Plastic-Ring-7-Inch-p184828944). Their socks are about 11" long, so they do not set on the bottom of the sock chamber. Since using their's, the water going through the socks is silent. So now I have plenty of socks to change them every 3 days and it's quiet, too!
 
OP
Scotty8284

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
Hey, I have the same sump.. but does your sump bubble (like a lot) where the water enters the refugium section?
Not at all. If it weren’t for the water leaving the Refugium, and a slight movement on the water surface, you’d be hard pressed to know water was even entering the Refugium.

In my setup, the primary drain, with the gate valve, is closest to the Refugium. So there’s no air that comes down that pipe. The secondary drain just barely has water going down it, so no air is getting drawn down that pipe. How are your drains set up? Are they running silent?
 

Henryb9

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
218
Reaction score
70
Location
Highland park, NJ
Yes, they are silent except for where the water enters the media basket. But I’m using all three drain lines, one for the frag tank and other two for the main display, I would wonder if that’s the reason it’s bubble too much, because it only started when I hooked up the frag drain to the empty spot. Maybe I need to slow down the water form the main display.
 
OP
Scotty8284

Scotty8284

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
103
Location
Williamsville
Yes, they are silent except for where the water enters the media basket. But I’m using all three drain lines, one for the frag tank and other two for the main display, I would wonder if that’s the reason it’s bubble too much, because it only started when I hooked up the frag drain to the empty spot. Maybe I need to slow down the water form the main display.
Do you have a gate valve on the frag tank drain as well? I think that’s where the air bubbles are coming from. I think the main drain line from each tank needs to be regulated.
 
SWEET 17 Live Sale!
Corals.com

BIG TANKS VERSUS SMALLER TANKS...WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

  • BIGGER

    Votes: 618 75.8%
  • smaller

    Votes: 154 18.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 43 5.3%

Online statistics

Members online
1,674
Guests online
4,339
Total visitors
6,013
Aqua SD
Top