I could use some help...

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Jim123, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Regarding fish:
    You have a 220G tank. What is with the tiny little timid fish??

    Mostly joking. But you will likely switch to larger fish, and then the tiny ones
    will be lost or picked on. The firefish in particular are really timid.

    Pajama cardinals get big though. And oddly mean looking. No worries there.

    Basically: Really think long term when planning.
    You may want have a few tangs eventually. Although they would eat the non-calcareous plants.
    Perhaps some dwarf angels.
    But key is your choice on larger carnivores. If you want any.
    If you will add a big Wrasse or two, those tiny fish are not just picked on, they are lunch.

    You may also want some "dither" fish.
    A small school/shoal of active swimmers to keep the others happy.
    Chromis, Anthias, and few others.
  2. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Hey Mark...
    Actually I am going for a different mix with my reef tank.

    I see my tank plan as a macro algae dominated reef system.
    No sump, no skimmer, circulation pumps only.
    Lots of eventually live rock and sand.
    Lots of macro algae, some soft corals, lots of inverts, lots of pods.
    Messier look.
    Higher nitrates, if possible, for the macro algae and soft coral.
    A few small fish, mostly gobies, low fish load.
    Fish trained over to dry food.

    This is planned. (smile)
    I may well get myself into trouble.
    If I don't like it, or it doesn't work, I can always do something different later.
    Apparently, there is no accounting for taste, (smile)

    Thank you for your interest!

  3. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    I did look at your tank thread(s).
    Very nice tank.
    Very well implemented, and beautiful fish.
  4. Ahruk

    Ahruk Guest

    Nope, It's a play on "experiment."

    As far as invertebrates, I'd definitely recommend a pom-pom crab, they're gorgeous and I LOVE mine. I've had her for over 7 months and while she does occasionally steal food from corals, she's never harmed anything. Also conches are my favorite of all the inverts. I love my conch "jabber". He's probably my favorite thing in my tank. xD To me they look like elephants. They're also good for keeping your sandbed stirred.

    The mini-feathers dusters, I don't feed anything. From what I've heard they should be find on their own but honestly, I just added them to my display about a week ago so no personal experience to back that up. I'd really love a bigger one but those you do have to feed and are difficult to keep from what I've read.

    I can't wait to see what your tank looks like when it's developed. :)
  5. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Hello again...

    My previous tank setup, maybe predictably, crashed. Ugh!

    I was trying to do a easy to maintain tank without a sump or skimmer by having
    just a few small fish, soft corals and macro algae.
    I was hoping that lots of macro algae would take care of any ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.

    Well I didn't get to the fish stage.
    After many stages of different types of algae covering the rocks, hair algae took over everything and
    even the macro algae was starting to die. I drained the tank.

    Well, I have licked my wounds and I am mostly over it psychologically. -smile-
    I don't want to focus on the problems I had with my unconventional setup.
    Now I want to start again.

    I want to go as conventional as possible, with a sump and a protein skimmer and everything.
    I want to do a soft coral dominated tank because I think it should be easier to setup and maintain.
    Also I really like the movement of the soft corals.

    Here is my example of what I want from Youtube:

    Does any one have, or had, experience with, a soft coral dominated tank?
    Is there anything I need to do differently from a SPS type tank?
    Can I get help if I have problems during the setup?

    I really want to get this to work.
    Maybe I can be in a future tank tour and have something to show. -smile-

    I appreciate your support, Jim
  6. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Hi Jim,

    I'm happy to lend a hand with setup or planning. It sounds like you're on the right track by adding a sump with a well sized return pump and skimmer.

    What's your overflow setup like? Do you have a reef ready tank or are you planning to build an overflow?
  7. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    If you like macro algae more than corals, you can still have a macro algae tank.

    Hair algae is usually a phase. Keep your phosphates and nitrates somewhat low. Throw some hermits and crabs in there and let the tank mature a bit before adding macro algae.

    There's also the possibility of the hermit crabs eating your macro algae but from what I've read they like some more than others.

    SPS corals are probably the hardest group of corals.
    LPS second hardest but do-able.

    Don't give up though :)

    I recommend checking out wpeterson's tank and maybe he can show you how his tank plumbing/overflow/equipment works. And maybe that will give you more insight on what direction you want to go with. Macro Algae, Soft, LPS, SPS corals.

    You can keep some macro algae with corals.
  8. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

  9. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Hi WPeterson,
    Recognize me? This is Jim from Mountain View.
    This is my thread and I am looking for any additional info from BAR on line.
    You are a nice person! See you next Monday night! Jim
  10. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Hi Jim - yes, I recognize you :)

    I thought I would pick up our discussion from e-mail with the un-answered questions and share your plans so other folks in the BAR community here can weigh in.

    Your sump plan sounds good, but what's your overflow situation in your tank? Is it reef ready with an overflow? Are you planning to add one if not?

    The plumbing to add a sump isn't too tricky, but if you need to install an overflow you should get someone who knows what they're doing to make sure you get the right volume of flow and no leaks from solid construction. I have never drilled a tank or installed an overflow, but I am happy to help with plumbing a sump if you've already got a reef ready tank.
  11. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I'd be happy to help as I'm sure many here are. Having just setup a 10g with no sump, I can relate to your problems.

    I had to read through the thread to get caught up.

    It looked like the tank never went through a cycle. No ammonia spikes and predictably no Nitrites. Also didn't look like you had enough rock.

    I know you said you didn't want to focus on what was wrong with the other setup but I think there is something to be learned from it.

    My suggestion, setup the tank. Let the tank cycle before adding anything. The bacteria needs time to cultivate. You need to see an ammonia spike, the a nitrite spike, then a drop to 0 in both. Big WC to remove nitrates THEN add stuff!

    If you do like you did for the 1st tank, you may crash again
  12. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I have mostly softies, some LPS, and almost zero SPS. WAY easier.

    Key early going suggestions:

    1) Plan your sump area carefully first.
    Skimmer size? Fuge area? Return area size? GFO/Carbon reactors? Socks?
    Enough easy access for cleaning?
    Draw it up, post, and ask for advice.

    2) Decide on your long term nitrate reduction strategy.
    Water changes are great, but impractical for many people with big tanks.
    Vodka/Vinegar? Bio-balls? ATS? RDSB?

    3) Plan your plumbing
    In particular, overflows can be really noisy if done wrong.
    Pipes? Return pumps? Powerheads for flow?

    4) Get it all running with tap water, for a whole week.
    Checks leaks, but also gives you a good feel on if you like it, noise, etc.
  13. anathema

    anathema Supporting Member

    To rygh's article 2 I would comment that since he plans to have a lot of macro, he might be considered as running a huge algae scrubber. Depending on plant load he might end up being fine with just algae growth.
  14. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    I have that...300gal with leathers and some fish.
    System is about 8 years old.
  15. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest


    About my overflow ...
    Like everything else on this tank, it's a bit of a story.

    I got the tank, custom built, from TruVu to fit my space.
    Not knowing any better I ordered it without a overflow.
    After looking at all my options I added a DIY external glued on box to the back of the aquarium with a slot in the aquarium wall that overflows into it.
    I wanted a very quiet reef aquarium so I used a "Bean Animal" overflow that uses 3 return pipes.
    It actually work great. Absolutely silent.
    Then the next problem I had was the return pump.
    I tried several pumps and they all seemed too noisy for me.

    I then gave up and said "Sumps, I don't need no stinking sumps"
    I closed off the sump overflow slot by glueing a piece of acrylic over it.
    The rest is history.

    For my future plans I figure I need a sump, if for nothing else so I can copy a working tank.
    I plan to figure out a way to reopen the slot in the side of the tank (Dremmel?)
    The tank is against a outside wall in my den. I was thinking to reduce noise I could pipe through the wall and have the pump housed outside.
    I don't know if a protein skimmer is noisy.

    Maybe I am asking too much to want a very silent reef tank.

    Anyway, thats my overflow story.

    I could afford it. Maybe I should start over with a new tank...
  16. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    I sort of think it would be great if wpeterson (who lives near me) could come over and talk over my options with me with the existing tank in front of us.
    If he was so kind to have some availability at some point that would be great!
    The situation is complicated. I guess I want everything and it is hard for me to make the trade offs.
    I like the cool, somewhat scary look of my tank stand.
    I guess I need to put a cabinet under part of it for the sump etc.
    I want a system that is very quiet.
    I got the return to work but the sump pumps I tried were too noisy for me. (Eheim, QuietOne)
    Has anyone produced a very quiet reef tank setup?
    Thank you for you
  17. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Mine is extremely quiet, which was a high priority for me because my tank is in my living room. I didn't want to hear equipment humming or my drain pipes slurping water.

    I have the herbie overflow. My return pump is the eheim compact. Very quiet. My skimmer is also very quiet.
  18. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Why did I write "Thank you for you" ugh...
    Anyway I do have a plan, I just need to think carefully how to physically implement it.
    Here is my possible plan:

    Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 7.44.34 AM.png

    I just need to figure where to put everything physically.

    I do appreciate all the help. It is good to know there are people that are doing what I am trying to do and that I
    can go to for help.

    Attached Files:

  19. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I think you are gonna need a bigger sump. Depending on how high your water is s how low your return is, you may get flooding when the pumps shut down.
    Enderturtle likes this.
  20. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Hi Jim,

    I'm happy to help. I can look at your overflow, but it may be worth getting someone with overflow or acrylic experience to work on making this effective and silent.

    I was concerned about visual polish and having a quiet tank for our 90 gallon, since it's in our living room. I think the result was almost silent, but different folks have their own standards. There were three major sources of noise in my experience: overflow splashing, sump drain splashing, and return pump whine.

    I used a siphon drain herbie setup and when I tune the siphon flow rate to match the return pump exactly, there is almost no vertical drop from the overflow weir into the overflow chamber, which eliminates splashing noise.

    I selected a Trigger Systems Tideline sump with an anti-splashing drain chamber. There are three 1" inlets that have 12" tubes that bring drain water close to the bottom of the drain chamber. The drain chamber is designed to hold 12-14" water at all times and gently overflow from the top into the filter sock chamber and then down into the skimmer chamber. This helps prevent microbubbles and splashing.

    My return pump initially made too much noise running at full speed. I dialed it back to 90% which cuts the volume by about half and bought a large silicon mat to place around it, which prevents vibrations against the acrylic sump.

    I'll catch up with you next week and hopefully we can get a plan together.

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