Felicia's 30 Gallon Seahorse Tank - Seahorses have arrived!!!

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by FeliciaLynn, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Good idea, I'll watch the for sale threads on N-R. I know a lot of people use this skimmer on their nano tanks.
  2. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Drill it instead...
    (Crowd chanting)
    Make a sump and use a skimmer.
    Btw, what temp will you be running this at? Almost for sure you can get by w no heater.
  3. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Haha! Unfortunately, I live in an upstairs apartment so I don't want to do anything to increase the risk of a leak. I've decided to stay away from plumbing and sumps until I'm not in a second floor apartment.
  4. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    I like to use chaeto as my filter floss. It helps trap food particles intentionally so that pods can grow in the inner windings of the chaeto. It creates more surface area for the pods to live. Otherwise, your refugium will need to be filled with live rock or something for the pods to "hang out on".

    That said, I am trying my hand to see if there is some sort of "split filtration" configuration where you get the benefits of

    1) unfiltered water for food particles to feed your pods in your refugium/macroalgae growout area that will directly feed into the return pump to push pods into main section

    2) filtered water section for carbon/GFO to remove phosphates and other "bad" compounds.
  5. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    here is my design concept. All rights reserved if anyone actually makes a commercial product out of this. :)


    Basically it has split flow.

    Refugium bottom flow helps to "flush" out pods into return pump to go back into your tank.

    Refugium overflow has minimized food particles (these will usually fall "down" into refugium due to overflow turbulence/waterfall). This overflow goes to skimmer and any media filtration you may use. This helps to clean out the microscopic organic compounds and chemicals (ammonia, nitrates, phosphates, etc).

    Both sections end up overflowing into the return pump section. They are set to the same height to allow balance in water return.

    Attached Files:

  6. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    Here is some notes I've collected during online research. All of things you probably already listed. Just putting it here in case anyone ever Google searches for this info.
    So often solutions are given without any reasoning behind it. There are drawbacks to every method, you just have to decide which draw back you want to deal with.​

    Skimmer first: The whole point of a good skimmer is to remove dissolved solids and some solids before they are broke down into base components of nitrates and phosphates. This reduces load on biological filter and removes N and P before they are present. The overflow takes surface water and feeds this dirtiest water to the skimmer. CON: A fuge needs to be fed raw water from the tank for the micro fauna and macro algae to feed off of. The skimmer removes most of this and the fuge gets under fed.​

    Fuge first: Fuge is fed tank water where it feeds the micro fauna and macro algae. Worms and pods feed off the water and break down the waste to base components of N and P. Macro algae takes up the N and P and is removed from the sytem when harvested. CON: The whole point od a fuge is to provide habitat for a strong population of pods to grow with out predation. This populations eggs will eventually overflow and feed the coral and fish in the display tank. With the skimmer after the fuge a lot of the eggs are skimmed out and never make it to the tank. What is the point of having a fuge when you kill most of what it produces?​

    Return last: Regardless of what is first, everything flows through the sump to the return and cycled back to the tank. A fuge is best served by low flow for the pods to grow without holding on for dear life and the time for macro to take up the N and P. The CON is that sump flow is too much for the fuge and you reduce it's effectiveness. Why not have the best fuge you can?​

    Return in the middle: The best of both worlds. Skimmer is fed raw water as is the fuge. The flow is controlled for how much the skimmer processes and how much the fuge requires. Both get what they want. CON: You have to split the drain coming from the tank. This requires probably $10 in extra parts and 30 more minutes at most to plumb. Hard to call that a con when that is all it takes and you get a much better system.​

    Feel free to reduce or improve the effectiveness of your system based on the limits of your individual situation.​
    tr1gger likes this.
  7. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    You could probably do away with your AC70. I think you get enough filtration from your LR and macroalgae. It really wouldn't be too much different than my 20L. The only thing that I run is the skimmer and a dual reactor with GFO in the first chamber and additional LR in the second chamber.

    If it were me, like Ron mentioned, I'd use the refugium/macroalgae to be your filter floss. The pods will most likely thrive there and will take care of most of everything.
  8. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Will the water from the fuge/macro section ever really flow over to the skimmer/carbon/gfo section? It seems the only way for the fuge/macro section to flow over to the skimmer/carbon/gfo section is if there's enough flow from the return pump.
  9. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    Oh, right!

    Just lower the first wall below the return pump walls.
    denzil likes this.
  10. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Yeah, I planned on having my return in the middle too for my 40B and having a split of the return to the fuge and skimmer area. Just going to control the flow at the split for the drain.
  11. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    Yeah, technically, Felicia could cut "two weirs", to create two sides, one for skimmer/carbon/GFO and one for refugium.
    Then the return pump would be in the middle.

    It has the nice benefit of having a centralized/middle-width return pump so you can skip using another pump in the tank.
  12. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    That list should be in the DIY section as a sticky. It could take you days to find all that great info across the web.
  13. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Wow! Great info everyone! You guys are such a huge help in planning this. Based on all the suggestions, how about this for a new design? Its split with the return pump in the center. I made the right overflow a bit narrower, so that the fuge will have a bit lower flow than the left side. Let me know what you guys think. I'm not positive I have all the baffling right on this split design.

  14. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    I have heard people use passive bags for filtration. Rather than an actual media basket, etc.

    Just buy a few mesh bags, and put some carbon inside. And you won't really need mechanical filtration since over time, your macroalgae will trap any particules you'll want to pull out.

    As for GFO, I don't know if there are "large pellet" GFO, but if you are growing a LOT of macro both in tank and in the refugium, phosphate may be less of an issue???


    I would put the heater BELOW your media basket. Heaters are usually one of those things you "set it and forget it". The media basket you will take out more often.
  15. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    I'd like to use a media basket since I really like Chemipure and Purigen, which I run on my main tank. I haven't ever used GFO, so I wasn't planning to with this build. Like you said, I'm hoping the amount of macro algaes will take care of the phosphates. I don't use GFO on my main tank and phosphates are always zero, which I think is due to the large clump of macros in there. Basically, I'm thinking keep the filtration the same as on my display tank since it works for me and then add in the skimmer to help with extra cleanup since seahorses are messy. Hopefully that should be enough. It will be easy to change out that media basket though if I decide to try something else.

    Oops, silly me! Makes so much more sense to have the heater below the media basket!
  16. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    It's really cool to see this design evolve! I wonder with Ron's design how much water will flow through the media bag.

    I would also suggest a two stage ranco temp controller with a simple titanium heater and a small cooling fan rather than an Eheim or, heavens forbid, a Theo or Fluval heater.

    I think you can live without a skimmer. You are doing fine on both your other tanks without one and unless you suddenly become a lazy slacker about maintenance and water changes I believe you'll be fine.
  17. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Again, doubt a heater is needed. What temp do you plan on running this tank at?
  18. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    Being in Berkeley there could be some cold nights, and with a glass tank, always good to have it just in case.
    FeliciaLynn likes this.
  19. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    Working on this design is fun! I love DIY projects like this! I'd just like to hammer this down soon, because I'd like to place an order with BRS this week for the plumbing supplies so that I have everything ready to go after Brandie and Denzil help me polish the tank this weekend.

    I was planning to use an Aqueon Pro 100 watt heater hooked to a Finnex digital controller. I have an Aqueon Pro 150 W hooked to a Finnex controller on my main tank and a 50W Aqueon Pro on the frag tank. I really like those heaters and have never had any issues with them at all. I'll look into the titanium heaters and the ranco controller though, thanks! I definitely would never use a Theo or Fluval!

    I'm basing this tank off of a seahorse tank on Nano-Reef. He definitely recommends a skimmer on a seahorse tank. Here's his reasoning, "Imo a skimmer is advised when keeping seahorses. Since seahorses need to be fed several times per day, and frozen foods such as mysis shrimp can foul any system's water quickly the water becomes very dirty, When the seahorse snicks the food up, it masticates the food and passes particulate matter through the gills and into the water column. This "dirty" water then becomes the basis for nasty bacteria. When possible choosing a skimmer rated for 2X or more the tank size is better for seahorse tanks."

    So even though I can run my main tank, this one will have a lot more leftover food particles in the water that will need to be skimmed out. Also, seahorses need REALLY good water quality. Sounds like I have to put a skimmer on here.
  20. FeliciaLynn

    FeliciaLynn Supporting Member

    I'll be running this tank at 75-76F since seahorses need cooler temps and that's about as low as you can go and still have healthy corals. Growth may be a bit slower at that temperature, but plenty of people have healthy reef tanks at 75-76F.

    I realize that during the day, I won't need a heater, but I leave my bedroom window open at night and so my room drops down into the 50's almost every night of the year. Seahorses can't handle temperature fluctuations, so I'll need the heater to keep the temperature stable at night.

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