Stand alone fuge anyone?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by HiFidelity, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi guys,


    anybody run a stand alone fuge? I can't get these out of my head, yes they look very cool but I am very curious as to how effective they are in comparison to a tiny fuge inside a sump. I currently dose carbon to keep nutrients in check and I was planning on running GFO or something in the future as well, will a big stand alone fuge eliminate the need to do all that or are those false hopes?

    I've got a tank build going and I am 95% sure I'm going to run a side cabinet to house top off water, electrical & supplies/food and this opens up the option to place something like this on top of the cabinet directly next to the DT.
  2. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    A 60gal and 40gal on different systems
  3. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Erin nothing you have can relate to what I'm doing haha you are on a scale my tank can not fathom, your tanks are the elephant and I'm the ant, haha

    What should I be focusing on? I know plumbing can get tricky with these and there seems to be mixed opinions on the variable which all start to get confusing after the 6th different forum/website of reading...
  4. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Looks fun.
    But I must be missing something, since you are worried about complexity.
    Wouldn't a stand alone fuge really be called a "Separate Planted display tank system"?
    Basically two entire setups. Each different.
  5. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Apologies in advance for the lengthy post :D

    I suppose it would be considered a separate and different DT system, but not entirely since it will be plumbed into the main tank.

    This is where I started with this; in planning my new system I came to realize that whatever I put in this stand will be permanent and this includes my top off container, now the sump being permanently installed is fine I understand that but having everything shoehorned together in such a way that I can't even remove a top off reservoir without having to tear the whole tank down just sounds very counterintuitive, I don't know about you guys but a removable reservoir is somewhat of a requirement, who the heck wants to plug in a powerhead to just refill some freshwater? I've also struggled to build the fuge into my sump without having the sump itself being crammed together and I am already trying to use a 20+ gal sump on a 45 gal DT how much bigger can this sump get? (with respect to the space the stand allows for) basically the problem with the in-sump fuge is that after I sized the skimmer & fuge chambers I'm only left with about 3-4 gallons in the return chamber and you guys know exactly what kind of problems that poses in the case that ATO runs out or stops working. Ultimately there was no way to add what I want without taking away from what I need, so I wonder why even bother if a fuge or sump can't even be accessible enough for a decent cleaning or repair? My current tank has neither and I hate it, I want to throw a hammer at it.

    Basically I need this system to be self sufficient for 7 days straight because sometimes I have to leave town and when I do I may be gone for up to a week, this means it can be slightly complex but only if that makes it more stable and also why I need a 5+ gal freshwater reservoir.

    This fuge can hold a massive chaeto ball in the beginning for all I care, eventually I can scape it & make it look awesome maybe even use it for frags along with some fish or shrimp so basically a completely different looking scape than DT. Also what I like is that there is something lit and enjoyable to look at no matter what time of day it is, either DT or fuge can be lit at any given moment. I run a reverse light cycle, lights off during the day & on at sunset.

    I do want this to be optional, as in removable if necessary so this fuge would run its own custom overflow exactly like a DT would have (beananimal or herbie) as well as a dedicated return pump and all the piping would go directly to & from the sump so it never has to be cut out of the main tank's plumbing if I change my mind. The main thing for me is the auxiliary cabinet which will hold all my electrical & top off water, this will have nothing sitting on top of it so wanting to place another tank on it is just an itch I'm not going to scratch away haha
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  6. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    You're welcome to come by and chat.
    While my systems may be larger than most, the intent is the same: nutrient export and a micro fauna habitat.
  7. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    I really want to do something similar. I want to put a 30gal cube next to my 120 to grow macro algae, gorgs and my mantis shrimp. I want to tie it into my sump but I will tie the drain into the existing drain from the 120 and a separate return pump.
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Ok, makes sense. Sounds a lot better than jamming everything into a tiny cabinet.

    If you plan on having a separate overflow and return pump, it should be very straightforward.
    Just make sure to size your sump large enough that it handles flow-back from both without overflowing.

    With the fuge being roughly a similar height to the main DT, I do not see options of chaining the tanks working well.

    You could use one pump with a Tee and some valves, but that is a minor decision.

    You might want to increase the flow on the returns / overflows slightly.
    The concern is you have pollution generated in one tank, it goes down to the sump, and back
    up to the filter tank, all rather randomly. That means a lower probability of getting pollutants
    to the filter quickly.
  9. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Erin, I am probably due now for another visit. I'm going to keep you in mind and I have not forgotten "pack a lunch & come hang out" I have not forgotten the words :)

    Griz, Mantis you say? I've wanted one of these guys but never wanted a dedicated tank to house one, perhaps this can be my golden opportunity...

    Mark, very good points. You are right, I can't rely on gravity since this thing would sit at almost identical height as the DT, the tank I am choosing is only 2-3" shorter. If you recall from my build thread I'm going to run 1.5" drain which should more than accommodate for tradition flow to fuge. BUT after thinking about this I must say that the fuge can not affect sump flow since it's picking up water from the sump & bringing it right back to it there should be no + or - flow from sump to DT right? it's kind of like a closed loop in the sump! the only thing I can think of is I would have to program the controller to shut the fuge pump off in unison with the main return pump so that the fuge isn't picking up water from one side & overfilling the other but even then the water would just overflow back from one chamber to another.

    "size your sump large enough that it handles flow-back" I've already done the math on the sump design I came up with and the sump will allow for about 7 gallons of "buffer space" I did this specifically so that if my ATO goes haywire it can empty the 5 gal jug into the system without overflowing.

    As to exactly how I would feed this fuge I would imagine it would be something like this;

    Sump: basic 3 chamber design 1st chamber is the drain output - 2nd chamber skimmer - 3rd chamber return.
    Fuge cycle: fuge pump would sit in the first chamber and pick up "dirty water" - fuge drain would bring water back but dump it in the last chamber of the sump (main return section) so that it never passes through the skimmer and goes back into DT.

    This raises one more question; how much flow is ideal for a system like this (the fuge) I would imagine it would require a tiny pump to move 100-200gph am I on the right track with that figure?

    I must say I am against T-ing anything off because as mentioned before, simply having only 2 hoses from sump to fuge makes things less cluttered and it also gives me the freedom to take the fuge completely offline or remove it entirely without any extra work other than yanking 2 hoses out of the sump. In the case that the pump dies somehow, well nothing happens.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  10. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    My fuge/mantis would be slightly lower, I could tie one of my two overflows (internal) into the mantis and have it gravity drain to the sump so half the 120 flow goes through the fuge.
  11. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    The mantis is awesome. Mine is just in a biocube, carbon filter and a fuge. No skimmer and water is perfect. He lives with a damsel and they get along great but he buries corals.
  12. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    You misunderstood my concern on the flow a bit. I really meant increase overall flow a bit more than normal.
    Basically because you have two paths, so pollutants have to go from DT to sump, and from sump to fuge.
  13. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    Yeah, I got your point. I was just think via Txt about another way to do it. I really just want to combine it so I only have to test one system. And no one gets to see the mantis while he's in my room.
  14. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Griz if I understand you correctly you would have the drain split and gravity feed the fuge, then pump from fuge to sump?

    Mark I can see your point, it makes sense to have more flow to keep things moving adequately...

    I'm still unsure about the amount of flow I should have going through the sump, as well as fuge?

    As mentioned earlier I'm thinking 100-ish gph through fuge and so far I plan for the sump to run somewhere in the range of 400-500 gph. Can someone verify if these figures make sense for the size sump, DT & fuge I plan to use? if it helps to know my skimmer is rated for 325 gph or something close to that...
  15. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    Second option was gravity to fuge and gravity to sump. I flow about 1200gph through the sump right now so half or less (my overflow tubes are adjustable) the flow through a 30g cube is OK.
  16. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    good god 1200gph? what size DT do you have?
  17. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    120g 4'x2'x2'
  18. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    ok that makes sense, that's 3 times bigger than my DT :D

    so you are moving the same ratio of water as I plan to through my sump, 10x tank volume.
  19. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Reef Geek 3D Printed

    I would like to move 400 - 600 gph through the fuge/mantis tank. My problem is finding an acrylic cube, I know a guy that will help me build one though. My wife wants seahorses in it but my mantis takes priority ;)
  20. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I am lost with all the sizes/numbers. But 10X seems good.
    Going by pump rating, I am at 10X. Funny ... I never measured actual flow. Obviously lower.

    For the fuge/mantis/seahorse, nothing stopping you from having partitions to keep them apart.
    It also allows you to control flow in each side.

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