new tank plans, help me plan it

Discussion in 'DIY' started by HiFidelity, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi everyone,

    This is an old thread - skip to page 3 for new plans.

    I have finally outgrown my little tank all thanks to this wonderful community who has helped me achieve this, in a period of exactly 12 months I went from a lonely clown fish, a bunch of rock & pink coraline to a tank that is bursting at the seams with small colonies & frags. It's an Oddysea 45, what the 45 stands for I have no idea! it is not 45 gal, every calculator I've used puts it at around 30-35 gal based on dimensions.

    Enough about the old tank let's talk about my new one; I've decided to give Acrylic a shot, I've always had glass tanks & this will be my first experience with Acrylic.
    New tank is a 55 gal, 48" long, 13" Deep & 19" tall. it's currently not reef-ready and has no overflow of any type, I saw this as an opportunity to create something that is designed specifically to my needs & desires.

    My goal is primarily to create a fail-safe overflow and I plan to do so with a Herbie Overflow with oversized overflow plumbing. The other goal is silence, from my research and based on other people's feedback the Herbie design will certainly achieve that and I'm going to incorporate a Coast to Coast type overflow box with no weir for optimized surface skimming, it is going to be about 3" tall, 3" deep & 24" long.

    I'd love to hear your opinions on the use of acrylic tanks vs glass since this is my first acrylic setup, also all comments on the overflow are great since this would be the time for me to improve & modify the design. I plan to use 1.5" overflow plumbing and building my overflow box out of blue 1/4" acrylic. I plan to run about 500-600 gph through the system.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015
    neuro likes this.
  2. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Congrats Fidel!

    I have a couple questions. Is this a tank you already have? Are those dimensions because of space issues? It's kind of an odd size tank. You would have much better options for aquascape, and lighting if you found something a little deeper (front to back). I would say a minimum of 18" and anything more is just gravy!! I understand if it's a space issue, or you already have the tank, just a thought.

    Acrylic tanks are beautiful and can stay that way..........just not for me. :( I don't know if I have a heavy hand, or just no patience with tank cleaning, but I scratch the hell out of them. I personally prefer glass. I do have a beautiful acrylic sump from Kritter tanks. If you are gonna have one made, I would consider Kritter in your search. There were also a few acrylic tanks on the last tour that were quite old if I recall. Still looked really good.

    If you decide to consider glass, there are many standard sizes in the 50-75 gallon range that are relatively affordable. I have never tried the fancy overflow systems, so I can't really give advice there. They seem pretty cool though.

    Again, congrats! I think planning is one of the best parts of getting a tank. Have fun!
  3. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    Check out the new ghost overflows by Reef Savy.

    The cool part about building an upgrade is that you can take your time and really plan out what you want. Your tank now is scratching the itch for corals and fish leaving you plenty of time to think things out.

    Good luck with the build, cant wait to see it!
  4. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hey Kris, I already have the tank with a stand & canopy, both of which I'm refinishing. You are right this is not the ideal size/dimensions tank, if I was buying the tank new I would go with something in the 70-90 gallon range and at least 18" deep (front to back) but believe it or not this is another temporary tank. Unfortunately the part of my house where I really want the tank is pending updates/upgrades/redesign haha so there is no way I can put a tank there, that's one predicament. As I mentioned the current tank is small and crippled by design issues. I honestly don't know how my tank is growing SPS because it is so limited I should have never used it to begin with, it has many issues with filtration, size, stand design etc. but that's an old topic.

    This tank will be the home to my corals & fish for the next year at least, in the meanwhile it will not sit in the ideal location but still in a prominent area in the formal living room and this is why I need it slim & long. I'll make due with the 13" of depth & at least I have plenty of length to compensate for the limited aquascape options. I also get to say I gave acrylic a shot, who knows I may love it especially since this tank has not been scratched.

    Dan, love the Reef Savvy ghost overflow but as mentioned in my response to Kris this is not a permanent setup which is why I'm DIYing it, but I'm pretty much building the same thing with a few small differences;
    The ghost overflow is basically a Coast to Coast with Bean Animal plumbing & a very conveniently removable weir. My overflow is basically the same minus the weir so it makes the removability aspect irrelevant and the Herbie overflow is close to bean animal with 1 less pipe (I really didn't want 3 pipes coming down the back), this is where I decided to oversize the plumbing, 1.5" is technically too big for a 55 gal tank since I only need about 650 gph max for sump flow(1.5" provides max of 1400 gph) this also leaves the door open for me to get creative with the plumbing & run extra flow perhaps to incorporate semi-closed loop circulation.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
    tr1gger likes this.
  5. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Sounds like a great project Fidel!

    Dimentions aren't ideal, however they are interesting. I would like to see a tank like that, so I am looking forward to seeing what you do with it. I too have had many tanks over the years. Each more exciting and better than the one before. Experience definately helps. ;) I'll be tagging along for the adventure.
  6. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hey guys I've got some updates...

    No longer going with the long tank and I found a new candidate, dimensions are as follow;

    36 Long
    20 Tall
    15 Deep

    So it's still shallow and deeper than the last choice, 10 gallons smaller since this is a 45 Gal, still acrylic, overflow design will be the same. In fact I really really need to kick things in high gear now because I'm starting to get the feeling that my old tank is on the verge of being overstocked (for its current filtration capacity) so I need to start cutting acrylic & drilling holes, hopefully get that part done before X-Mas. Other advantage of this size is that my LED system I'm building will be perfect for this footprint, I forgot exactly the specs but I believe it's 50-60 LED's arranged in 3 separate clusters so it should be plenty of light with good coverage... only thing that sucks now is space limitation in the stand, I'm going to shoehorn a 20 gal sump & 5 gal top off jug, that and my elaborate plumbing will hardly leave any room for much more so I'm thinking I may need to keep a cabinet beside the tank to house all the electronics (I have my eyes on Reef Angel)

    Any recommendations on where to get a good deal on plumbing parts? I'm going to need some pvc, ball valves, gate valves, couple of bulkheads, you know the usual :)
  7. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    My personal favorite place to get some if not most of my fittings is and/or savko.

    It's a great idea to plan space for the electronics if your current stand won't fit it. I had a 40 gal setup as my first large(r) tank setup, and a 20 gallon fit just fine underneath, but I had to resort to a 5 gallon vase that served as an ATO while I stuffed some electronics underneath.

    If I could do it again, I would definitely do what you're thinking of, and make sure I poly coat everything in the storage area of the stand. I think I saw someone use a white, poly coat he got from a marine/boat store that was specifically made for boats. It took days to dry and sand however. If you still have time to decide on a stand, I would get the stand maybe 1-2 inches bigger than the size of the tank to allow for as much room as possible underneath.

    just my experience. sounds like fun!
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Cabinet next to tank for electronics is a great plan.
    I tend to splurge and get the schedule 80 bulkheads and from bulk reef supply.
    For ball valves, I just go to Lowes.

    Moisture is always an issue in small packed stands.
    When I had that issue, one thing I did was make a cover over the skimmer.
    Basically an acrylic box sitting on top of the sump, enclosing the skimmer cup.
    That made a huge difference in moisture and salt spray.
    (I still have a cover now, even though all the equipment is in the garage)
  9. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    you guys both made awesome suggestions, flexpvc seems to have a huge variety of products I'll have to look in detail when I get home....

    Coating the inside of the stand sounds like a good idea, I'm not a huge fan of covering the skimmer or sump because I like as much aeration of the water as possible, I was plagued with low PH for a while and now I have a bit of a paranoia about my PH dropping haha...

    Another important factor I need advice on is the size of piping to use, primarily so I can decide on size of hole to drill in the tank. As mentioned previously I'm going to go with a Herbie overflow type deal and was thinking of going oversized with 1.5" bulkheads on both pipes, someone said I can always put smaller pipes through a bigger bulkhead (stack sizes?) but how does 1.5" sound?
  10. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Ask 10 reefers for an opinion and you'll get 20!


    Sch 80 is not much stronger that Sch 40. I use Sch 40 for all the pipes/fittings. Ball valves, the Cepex ones from BRS are $$ but very nice. I have some Sch 40 ball valves - replacing them soon! I'd rather spend the $$ on the moving parts.

    What's your return pump? My OF is BeanAnimal style. Full siphon on the main drain. IIRC herbie is the same. I'm using 1" BH and the main is at about 1/2 open to handle a Eheim 1262. This on a 120G tank.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I don't quite care for the difference between Sch 40 or 80, I'll probably buy Sch 40 parts as I've never heard of them failing before, in fact I was considering flexible pvc as an option as well.

    As far as pump goes I'm going to use Iwaki 40RLXT which produces 1344 gph before head, why so big on a 45 gal you say? well this is where the part I was talking about elaborate plumbing comes into focus, I figure with all the extra flow I can T off the overflow before it reaches sump & redirect it back to the pump so I can run extra pressure out of the return nozzles! (brain fart, what are the thingies that returning water is pumped through from the pump? are they called return nozzles?) so that perhaps I can try to get away with using only one return pump thus utilizing more built in circulation for the sake of efficiency. Also if I decide to run any type of reactor (most likely GFO) I won't need extra powerheads cluttering the stand, for this I also plan to use a manifold with prebuilt extra outlets that I will cap for now so that way one big pump can power everything that requires a pump except for the skimmer.

    So all that + lowering the risk of having anything (snail or algae?) from clogging the overflow which led me to consider 1.5" bulkheads. I figured if I'm going to run a gate valve to regulate flow, why not go for max potential? which is somewhere around 1320 gph max that a 1.5" pipe can flow.

    I wanted to see if I was overlooking anything with this concept or if I'm plain crazy and going way overboard? haha I've honestly never drilled a tank, back in the day if the tank wasn't reef ready there was always a crappy external overflow box and all the flow figures are preconfigured in those situations...
  12. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    The reason to get Sch80 is that they seem to correlate to better quality parts. Especially bulkheads.
    Well, and the grey looks cool.
    But yeah, zero chance of schedule 40 "bursting" which is the official difference.

    Big bulkheads are the way to go.
    The only thing you may not want to oversize is the siphon overflow pipes themselves.
    (As opposed to emergency overflow pipe)
    The reason being that if it is too large, it can cause issues with siphon forming.

    I do not understand the part about a T off.
    Are you talking about using eductors / flow accelerators. Yes, that can work.
    But powerheads still produce way more flow/watt than a pump.
    Or do you simply mean using the pump for both return and reactors. Also works well. Very common.
    Note : You can back pressure / reduce flow from a mag drive pump a lot. It actually reduces power.
  13. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I have experience with a lot of Sch 40 assembly in home construction/remodel applications which is why I feel ok working with Sch 40 and I have noticed the imperfections you mention, nothing a little bit of sand paper can't fix I actually prefer to sand all joints on Sch 40.

    In regards to siphon issues, do you think I'll run into that with 1.5" maybe on the lowest range being 500-600 gph? if it can't go that low then I might have some issues? and I agree on the emergency line, I don't think 1.5" is negotiable on the emergency tube given that I will only have one instead of the two that beananimal utilizes....

    The T I'm talking about would be on the pipe coming down from the overflow and feeding the sump, so I figured if I T off before the sump I can pull all the extra flow and feed it directly to the pump until my skimmer flow is matched to the return flow (or tune it into whatever works best). This way I am creating a semi-closed loop and making the pump do 2 jobs, filtration and circulation.

    I am not ruling out powerheads by any means at all but seeing recently that the Jebao DC powerheads are so powerful the intent is to do away with only a single Jebao powerhead blowing water across the front of the tank while the return nozzles (with flow accelerators/randomizers) can blow down behind the rocks, around them or whatever direction that will work best to keep detritus suspended. The other thing is I hate taking out powerheads to clean them so eliminating one powerhead means cutting that chore in half.

    I plan to use this single pump with all its glorious output to drive filtration, circulation, and reactors since it has the ability to push that much water and leaves my sump pump-free so I have more room for fuge or other stuff.

    What do you mean by back pressure? ball valve infront of the pump? I personally do not like doing that because of the added strain on the pump and the consequent heat (I run no chiller in the summer) I prefer to redirect any extra water (through T'ing off the overflow pre-sump) and repurpose it to increase flow & circulation.
    haha don't ask, I have ADD when it comes to efficiency :eek: I hope I didn't misunderstand what you meant if so please elaborate if you so kindly will :)
  14. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Haven read it all yet, but big. Umm heads are good. 1.5" is nice for drains. 3/4-1" is fine for returns. Don't use valves from lowes. I'd get spears valves. I buy them from ewing irrigation.
  15. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    FYI i have a single 1.5" drain and 1" return. Wish I could answer your siphon questions but I don't run a fancy drain setup.

    Often return head height/gph is based on a certain pipe size/diameter.

    You can always dial back pump output with a gate valves. I've seen multiple gate valves on a return piping to control flow to multiple reactors. This can get expensive.

    I run a separate pump for my gfo reactor so I can use the reef angel to turn it off remotely.

    You can always paint them if you want the same color piping.
  16. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Yes, that is what I meant. It is a common misconception.
    Moderate back pressure REDUCES the strain on the pump. Yeah, seems backwards, but really.
    (Mag drive pumps)
    The more head / back pressure, the less power used, and the less heat generated.
    Look at pump curves on the manufactures sites.

    So redirecting water, just to reduce pressure, is actually less efficient.

    That is different from repurposing water though. Very good idea there.
  17. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I've read very mixed opinions about restricting the pressure from pump, for the most part it seems a lot of people do confirm that the most restricted the pump the hotter it will run and that can potentially be an issue for me since my tank can max out at 80-82 degrees a couple days out of the summer.

    I'm thinking now what if that Iwaki is just way overkill? what if my concept of recycling extra flow somehow fails and I end up with a cluster$%^@ of bubbles after all the piping is glued together? haha

    So now I'm wondering, what about a brushless DC pump? hhmmmm now there's potential, they are adjustable, very small, very efficient and can be dialed in to pump any amount of water desired... anyone here using one of these pumps?
  18. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Using a speedwave. Love it. Not sure on brushless or not tho
  19. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    yup, it's brushless. Can you share a bit more details about it? the amount of volume you're moving with it? head loss? pressure output? just your impression on performance compared to a common pump like mag drive.
    I ask because from my own personal experience with Brushless Motors (in another hobby not fishtank related) they actually behave completely different than your conventional AC pump.
  20. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I am using a Jaebo DC6000 on my scrubber. Works great so far.
    Adjustable flow!! (I did not get the controller with it, but built one)
    Super quiet. Nice soft and rather slow start.
    Very low power use. (Measured)
    More flow than I needed. Had to turn it way down.
    But did not seem to have a lot of pressure.
    I have not done any real measurements on flow though.

    Consider the Pan-World pumps as well. I consider those a bit better than Iwaki.
    (Mostly due to larger and better sealed impeller)
    Supposedly chief designer left Iwaki and started that company.

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