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My very own 30gallon tank build


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Hello everyone! I’ve recently come to a decision to upgrade and build a tank of my own for the first time. with over a year’s experience of reefing with a 15gallon AIO system, I constantly feel that there are things that can be improved in my system.

 

Reefing is a expensive hobby. As I’m only in my early twenties serving the nation, cash flow is not as high, and i would rather be investing my excess cash! Therefore, I’ve come to a decision to build instead of buy, taking this opportunity to build experience and learn.

 

for this build, i’ll be doing everything myself from the wooden panels to building the tank up from scratch.

 

I’m excited to be able to share with you guys my tank design I’ve did up. I would appreciate comments on what I can work on. thanks in advance everyone!IMG_4242.JPGIMG_4243.JPGIMG_4240.JPGIMG_4239.JPGIMG_4246.JPGIMG_4245.JPGIMG_4244.JPG

 

some things which i did not model are:

-plumbing to chiller

-union joints

-valves

 

 

here’s how it goes. The sump I’ve modelled is actually designed to be a 2nd display tank. sandbed with liverock and display macroalgae which runs on reverse lighting schedule.

 

I would believe this is more interesting than the traditional sump layout, and allow me to have a different view after the lights go off.

 

I also assume that this will produce a good pod population, as compared to the regular turning ball of chaeto.

 

I’m in the meantime skeptical about how my sump layout works in the event of a pump failure.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi! 

17 minutes ago, shawnlim said:

 

I’m in the meantime skeptical about how my sump layout works in the event of a pump failure.

I do think this is going to be an issue. Your return pump compartment has very small buffer for additional water.  Perhaps you need to build a taller sump. 

22 minutes ago, shawnlim said:

regular turning ball of chaeto

Chaeto are used because they are resilient and efficient in exporting nitrates and phosphates. I noticed your skimmer compartment could only house a small skimmer. You may have to keep an eye on how your nutrient management goes. 

 

Lastly,  :excl:critical:excl:.  You need to design a emergency over flow for the filter sock holder. Perhaps cut some slots near the top of the baffle, or reduce the baffle height a bit. So that in case of overflow, the water goes into your sump rather than the floor. 

 

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Hi! 
Chaeto are used because they are resilient and efficient in exporting nitrates and phosphates. I noticed your skimmer compartment could only house a small skimmer. You may have to keep an eye on how your nutrient management goes. 
 
Lastly,  :excl:critical:excl:.  You need to design a emergency over flow for the filter sock holder. Perhaps cut some slots near the top of the baffle, or reduce the baffle height a bit. So that in case of overflow, the water goes into your sump rather than the floor. 
 

is there a way I can calculate how tall will the sump have to be, without actually water testing it IRL? for this reason i actually located the overflow quite high in the display tank so that there wont be much overflowing going on. (does that help?, or am i causing more problems? like noise etc.)

for the skimmer wise, I designed it so it fits my current fluval skimmer, rated for 15-20 gals. I know that that slot can also fit an eshoppe skimmer rated for 30gals if need be. I didnt allocate a large compartment since technically i’ll be having a large “fuge” for nutrient export (i would also run calurpa to replace chaeto) going on in the macroalgae DT hence i’m not as worried about the skimming compartment as of yet.

i’ll have to do the emergency overflow!

thanks for your reply! great insights here!
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Thanks for sharing, is that a wheel under the cabinet? Hope it can be lock and support the weight. Cheers!

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There's nothing to see here. 

But do check out my articles! https://www.sgreefclub.com/home/

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6 hours ago, shawnlim said:

wont be much overflowing going on

Calculating is gonna be challenging because many factors are in play. you can set up the whole system,  fill the dt until water overflows into the sump,  then fill up the sump to the desires level. Then you turn on the return pump. This way, you will not overfill your sump. Make sure you drill an emergency vent hole on the return pipes to prevent back siphon. 

Noise can be adjusted by the height of the stand pipe in the overflow box. 

6 hours ago, shawnlim said:

fits my current fluval skimmer

Perhaps use the skimmer without the compartment?  I feel the partition may restrict your choice of equipment down the road. 

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Awesome! Great to see reefer dabbing into a fully DIY set up!

Regarding the pump failure scenario, i think that could be mitigated by using flow check valves. These check valves have gate that automatically closes when the pump stops/fail, preventing water from backflowing down to the sump from DT. Still there must be sufficient buffer for whatever water left in your overflow box to flow back down to your sump, though that should be quite minimal.

EvolutionZ's Floating Reef:

(Decommed) EvolutionZ's 4ft shallow Mixed Reef Build :

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1 hour ago, shawnlim said:

or does it just in general increase the water level in the sump?

It's about the water level of the sump. Your vent hole on the return pipe or check valves will prevent excessive back siphon.  However,  any water higher than the overflow will be emptied into the sump

Usually, most sump design have return pump and/or skimmer chamber set at a lower level. This is will allow more buffer volume for those water to be contained. 

Based on your design, it's not an issue if you fill the dt and sump in a correct order. But I would prefer a bit more safety margin. 

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Awesome! Great to see reefer dabbing into a fully DIY set up!
Regarding the pump failure scenario, i think that could be mitigated by using flow check valves. These check valves have gate that automatically closes when the pump stops/fail, preventing water from backflowing down to the sump from DT. Still there must be sufficient buffer for whatever water left in your overflow box to flow back down to your sump, though that should be quite minimal.

haha.. thanks! wanted to gain as much exposure as I can while enjoying the details at the finest. a part of me enjoys doing stuff like these. I’ll be using check valves for sure.. haha. anyways, i really like how u built ur tank! been following it for awhile


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It's about the water level of the sump. Your vent hole on the return pipe or check valves will prevent excessive back siphon.  However,  any water higher than the overflow will be emptied into the sump
Usually, most sump design have return pump and/or skimmer chamber set at a lower level. This is will allow more buffer volume for those water to be contained. 
Based on your design, it's not an issue if you fill the dt and sump in a correct order. But I would prefer a bit more safety margin. 

i see! glad to be hearing from you, clarified lots of my queries.. haha. i would assume its something like turn off return pump and fill right? I’ll go and read up more to see how i can tweak my design! thanks alot for your help aswell! I also read ur thread on your profile interesting way to design!


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1 hour ago, shawnlim said:

how i can tweak my design

There is a lot of finesse as to how to run an aquarium. 

It's really awesome to build one from scratch and know the ins and outs of it. 

 

On the topic of check valve, I find them not reliable as they fouls easily. A vent on the return pipe is much more reliable,  but will empty a bit more water back into your sump. 

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You can calculate the volume of water that goes back to the sump. And then design the sump to accommodate the volume. PM me if you need inputs on this. Personally, I would go with the vent hole AND build a sump that can accommodate the volume as well.

 

Exciting days ahead!!

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There is a lot of finesse as to how to run an aquarium. 
It's really awesome to build one from scratch and know the ins and outs of it. 
 
On the topic of check valve, I find them not reliable as they fouls easily. A vent on the return pipe is much more reliable,  but will empty a bit more water back into your sump. 

yeah! its all about experiences and the joy it brings us! thanks for pointing out the reliability issue which i haven’t considered.
vent on return pipe, do u mean something like this? IMG_4251.JPG


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You can calculate the volume of water that goes back to the sump. And then design the sump to accommodate the volume. PM me if you need inputs on this. Personally, I would go with the vent hole AND build a sump that can accommodate the volume as well.
 
Exciting days ahead!!

nice! would love to be able to get into some calculation! 🥸 i’ll drop u a pm
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41 minutes ago, shawnlim said:

can still be done?

Yes. You can just drill a tiny hole on the pvc pipe section inside the tank, just below the water surface. 

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