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View Full Version : A little help for a newbie, skimmer and setup


shamoo
10/03/2017, 04:51 AM
Hello everyone,

I've been looking at this forum for about 11months now reading as much as i can, like most beginners the more i read the more doubt i have. Anyway i'll try and keep this as short as possible.

I have a 150g tank with drilled holes in the bottom, which will be FOWLR tank and 22g sump (old tank), i have just started purchusing the pipe so its all new and exciting:spin1:
First off Skimmers, which of the following is best

Bubble magnus g7
Simplicity 240 dc
Reef octopus classic 200
Tmc reef skim 1000

Now a few questions, sorry if they seem obvious or stupid

is the sump big enough?
what is the best set up for my sump? - i have 1 overflow pipe from the tank that will be socked. I was thinking 3 sections, 1st for the skimmer, 2nd need a bit of help with, maybe more filtration? and 3rd for return. i was also thinking of putting filter pads inbetween the baffles
would bio balls be any good for the 2nd filtration section or more live rock and sand?
do i need a reactor?
how do i know enough air is getting into the water?
any other equipment i need?

i was planing on using live sand in the main tank with live rock, DSB (deep sand bed, for other newbies :lol2:) but after reading multiple threads i've changed my mind to go with a shallow sand bed with live rock and live plants

thanks for your input, im sure there will be other questions but i'll keep searching the forum for those unless i become really stuck. my main concern is getting the sump right, but from what i've read being a FOWLR its not as complicated as a reef tank.

Ron Reefman
10/03/2017, 05:28 AM
First off Skimmers, which of the following is best

Bubble magnus g7
Simplicity 240 dc
Reef octopus classic 200
Tmc reef skim 1000

Skimmers are skimmers. Your question is like asking Chevy,
Ford, Toyota, which car is best? I have no opinion on which is better.

Now a few questions, sorry if they seem obvious or stupid
12 years ago I felt just like you do now. In time you will get the hang of it. The issue is there are so many ways to get to success, but some ways interfere or block out other ways, so it can be confusing. So ask your questions. That's why some of us are here to try and help.

is the sump big enough?
I'm not sure there is such a thing as a big enough sump! LOL! If your skimmer fits and works in it (as in it's deep enough) and when the power goes out it will hold all the water that wants to siphon down, then it's big enough.

what is the best set up for my sump? - i have 1 overflow pipe from the tank that will be socked. I was thinking 3 sections, 1st for the skimmer, 2nd need a bit of help with, maybe more filtration? and 3rd for return. i was also thinking of putting filter pads inbetween the baffles
would bio balls be any good for the 2nd filtration section or more live rock and sand?
3 sections in a 20g sump sounds kind of crowded. You really only need 2 (skimmer and return). The filter sock is enough large particle filtration, you won't need filter media between the baffles. I took a single drain, like you have, and split it in to 2 and run 2 socks so I don't have to change them as often. Bio-balls is VERY old school and you accomplish the same thing with live rock in the tank and/or in the sump, so they would be redundant.

do i need a reactor?
No. There is nothing wrong with having one, but there is nothing wrong with not having one either. I have one plumbed into my system just in case I ever want to run GFO, carbon or anything else, but I've never used it.

how do i know enough air is getting into the water?
The skimmer adds some oxygen and CO2 exchange to the water. But the majority of the gas exchange happens at the surface of the water in the tank (and the sump). Make sure you have a powerhead or wavemaker that causes some movement of the water surface and you'll be in good shape.

any other equipment i need?
There's always stuff you can buy. But equipment you need... time will tell.

i was planing on using live sand in the main tank with live rock, DSB (deep sand bed, for other newbies :lol2:) but after reading multiple threads i've changed my mind to go with a shallow sand bed with live rock and live plants.
A DSB in the tank isn't a good idea. Having it in the sump, refugium or a remote bucket is a better idea. But the effect on the nitrate in your tank is much better controlled with proper stocking levels, live plants (in the tank or a refugium) and water changes.

thanks for your input, im sure there will be other questions but i'll keep searching the forum for those unless i become really stuck. my main concern is getting the sump right, but from what i've read being a FOWLR its not as complicated as a reef tank.

That's true. A FOWLR is easier to maintain and not as difficult to keep under control.

Asking questions here is always a good idea. Just don't be surprised when 10 different people give you 15 different answers!:thumbsup:

mcgyvr
10/03/2017, 05:37 AM
edit.. dang.. ron beat me.

really no best skimmer.. they all work well..
IMO go with the Bubble Magus Curve 7.. I have a 5 and really like it..

IS the sump big enough?.. If it fits what you want in it then yes..

You said 1 overflow pipe.. I wouldn't recommend doing anything less than a herbie setup which requires 2 pipes.. Hope you have holes for that..

bioballs have basically gone out of style so no..
reactor.. nope.. not "needed" at all to have a successful tank

Many are doing the middle section of the sump for a "refugium" to grow macro algaes like chaeto to help with nutrient export.. but there is really no wrong way to do a sump as far as chambers go..
I personally don't run any socks or filter pads as mechanical filtration is basically useless in a saltwater setup unless you are cleaning those pads/socks almost daily and who in their right mind really wants to do that..

enough air? your skimmer will handle that just fine along with having powerheads/circulation in the tank.. In general your return pump should be sized to do 3-10x display volume in gallons per hour and then you have powerheads to get you up to 30x or more display volume in total flow in the tank..

live rock is good but I would suggest only a bit of live rock and then dry rock for the rest to save some money and I would avoid live sand and just use dry sand rinsed well..

sounds like you know enough to do just fine.. don't worry.. go slow and have fun and you win..

shaginwagon13
10/03/2017, 05:50 AM
Hello everyone,



I've been looking at this forum for about 11months now reading as much as i can, like most beginners the more i read the more doubt i have. Anyway i'll try and keep this as short as possible.



I have a 150g tank with drilled holes in the bottom, which will be FOWLR tank and 22g sump (old tank), i have just started purchusing the pipe so its all new and exciting:spin1:

First off Skimmers, which of the following is best



Bubble magnus g7

Simplicity 240 dc

Reef octopus classic 200

Tmc reef skim 1000



Now a few questions, sorry if they seem obvious or stupid



is the sump big enough?

what is the best set up for my sump? - i have 1 overflow pipe from the tank that will be socked. I was thinking 3 sections, 1st for the skimmer, 2nd need a bit of help with, maybe more filtration? and 3rd for return. i was also thinking of putting filter pads inbetween the baffles

would bio balls be any good for the 2nd filtration section or more live rock and sand?

do i need a reactor?

how do i know enough air is getting into the water?

any other equipment i need?



i was planing on using live sand in the main tank with live rock, DSB (deep sand bed, for other newbies :lol2[emoji4] but after reading multiple threads i've changed my mind to go with a shallow sand bed with live rock and live plants



thanks for your input, im sure there will be other questions but i'll keep searching the forum for those unless i become really stuck. my main concern is getting the sump right, but from what i've read being a FOWLR its not as complicated as a reef tank.



So you have a few questions I'll do my best to answer:

1) Skimmers, which of the following is best

- Out of the 4 you listed I have personally never used any of them. I know and have heard lots of people have been happy with the Octopus and Bubble Magnus. I have never heard of the other two brands you mentioned. I have always run and chosen Royal Exclusive Skimmers. Right now, I have a Vertex Alpha 250 (when I bought mine, Vertex Skimmers were being made by Royal Exclusive). I choose my skimmer based on quality of both the chamber but more importantly the pump. I wanted a skimmer with the power to skim, and the quality of foam produced to be effective. I also choose this skimmer because the pump is a DC style pump which is completely silent and adds very very little heat into my tank. This allowed me to prevent using the chiller as much as possible which saves on electricity.

2) is the sump big enough?

- for my personal taste, I prefer to have as large of a sump/refugium as I can. My first tank ever was a 210 gallon display, and I was space confined where I had my tank so it was under the tank and with all the monitors, pumps I only had room for a 40 gallon sump/refiugium. In my opinion, 20 gallons is on the small side, but that 100% does not mean you cannot have a successful tank. To answer your next questions, 'should you have bioballs', I choose to allocate a large portion of my sump to live rock. This frees up space in my tank, keeps it clean while I can have several hundred pounds in the sump. Again, if you only have room for a 20 gallon, make it work. If you have room for a larger sump, I would increase the size.

3) so you need a reactor

- I have several. Calcium, carbon, phosphate by again you don't need them to have a successful tank. Out of the 3 of those listed above, since you only plan to have fish with live rock, I would use carbon and/or phosphate. Carbon will make the water crystal clean. And phosphate reactor will keep phosphates low, but if you don't over feed and have proper flow, this shouldn't be an issue anyways.

4) Personally I don't use bio balls. I use live rock rubble instead in the sump.

5) how do i know enough air is getting into the water?

- PH will normally drop a little in the winter time when your furnace is on, or your tank is in the basement. If you angle some of your powerheads towards the surface of your tank, you will get some good surface agitation which will allow oxygen to be increased. I have two HRV units installed for my system. One used is to extract hot hair from the lights in the canopy. It also delivers fresh outside air. The second is used to do the same but for the sump room. This would be overkill for your system. What I used in previous tanks, is to add an air stone in your sump and if possible, place the unit by a window so when it's open, your sink is getting clean and fresh air. Don't forget your also running a skimmer, which is essentially adding air into the water also as part of its function.

Hope this helps a little.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

shamoo
10/03/2017, 01:00 PM
Thanks everyone for your input, really appriciate it.

My tank came with no plumbing which is fine with me as it gives me a chance to really get in involved in the build of the tank which i enjoy doing. i have just started the basic plumbing installing the overflow and and return pipe. With the overflow i plan of installing a gate valve before it goes into the sump to controll the flow, but what is the common hight for the overflow pipe in the main tank? i was thinking 6" from the top water level?

thanks

mcgyvr
10/03/2017, 01:09 PM
With the overflow i plan of installing a gate valve before it goes into the sump to controll the flow,



whoa...hold on..
did you mean on the return plumbing? Do not valve a single pipe overflow (drain) unless you are hoping for a flood claim..

shamoo
10/03/2017, 03:43 PM
Hi mcgyvr

not sure what waht u mean? by overflow i mean the pipe the water will filter down from the main tank to the sump. reason why i was going to put a valve on the pipe is to controll how much water is going into the sump. Are you saying flood claim in case the valve fails? How else should i regulate how much water leaves the main tank to the sump? Have the overflow pipe at the top water level and have the sump return pump water and natually fill up the tank untill it overflows?
hope that makes sense

hkgar
10/03/2017, 03:50 PM
Echoing Ron. I would have said much the same but I am not functioning a 6:30 AM.

Take everything slowly. I started with a 40 and only had a HOB skimmer and an Aquaclear filter, oh and of course live rock.

Fifteen years later you would have a hard time understanding my sump room.

Wires before I organized them
https://photos.app.goo.gl/lJfOPhzUJbFa616O2

Full view, except the water mixing are, with the wires in there place.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/btPLErTGSoHJfFvw2

Get what you need when needed and it serves a beneficial purpose, save you money or time.

JimON
10/03/2017, 03:57 PM
Hi Shamoo, welcome aboard.

As for your drain lines, how many holes are drilled in the tank already? The reason I ask, is when I bought my tank it had 2 holes drilled. I was thinking that one should be for drain, the other for return. I was talked into using both of those holes for drain, (one for main and one for emergency), by I think it was LSUfan on this board, then piping the return up the back and over the top. I am absolutely tickled that I did it this way, as the drain is nearly silent, and there is always an emergency line with no valve that could be clogged should something clog the main drain. Google Herbie drain for a 2 drain setup, and Bean Animal drain for a 3 drain setup. Either is a far better option than just one drain, and you will be happy that you set it up this way once you get rolling. HTH!:thumbsup:

Edited to add: With that size tank, you need to have a water station set up to make RODI and salt water for water changes. It will cost you WAY less money in the short run, let alone the long run.

xCry0x
10/03/2017, 04:03 PM
If you are planning to do a FOWLR you don't need a skimmer.

You mentioned, "a shallow sand bed with live rock and live plants " -- What do you mean by "Live plants"?

A FOWLR dramatically reduces the complexity of the tank. 90% of what makes salt water tanks "hard" is related to keeping coral =).

shamoo
10/04/2017, 07:19 AM
Hi guys,

loving the quick turn over in replies, shows how active the forum is, which is brilliant comapred to some other forums i've been on. (not aquarium)

my tank has 2 drilled holes, 1 x 2.5" and 1 x 1". i am using the 2.5" as the overflow. On the overflow pipe from the main tank i will put a "grill" over the top of pipe to act as a safety barrier as well as the pipes being behind a case. My tank is in the middle of my living room so we can view it from all angles so i dont really want anything on the outside of the tank. What i could do is split the overflow into 2 in the tank so it acts as 2, it will look like a Y, 2 x 1" pipes, what do you think?
I had also thought of splitting the overflow pipe that comes into the sump into 2, with filter socks on them to dampen the noise?
also the only reason i want a skimmer is too make sure the water stays as clear & clean as possible.

i like the look of sand and i know it adds some benfits to the filtration of the water, not recommended by all i know but the benefits out weigh the negatives IMO, although i need more research into what fish i want and see what best suits them. i was thinking around 2" deep

By live plants i simply mean plants that are living, i havn't looked into salt water plants it was just an idea i like the look of. a bit like what you get with tropical water, i like a natural looking tank

Does anyone have any thoughts on the valve or ways to regulate the amount of water entering the sump, i.e height of the overflow pipe in conjunction of the water level?

as allways much appricated

shaginwagon13
10/04/2017, 07:39 AM
1) The only reason i want a skimmer is too make sure the water stays as clear & clean as possible.

- I would run a skimmer also, but if your goal is simply crystal clear water, you will get this by running carbon. T will make your water more clear than any skimmer hands down.

2) i like the look of sand and i know it adds some benfits to the filtration of the water, not recommended by all i know but the benefits out weigh the negatives IMO, although i need more research into what fish i want and see what best suits them. i was thinking around 2" deep

- I agree, I love the look and chose a shallow sand bed for all my tanks. 1 to 2" deep is considered shallow. You might want to look into the following to help clean your sand:

1) Nassarius snails
2) Sand sifting star
3) Diamond Goby

3) By live plants i simply mean plants that are living, i havn't looked into salt water plants it was just an idea i like the look of. a bit like what you get with tropical water, i like a natural looking tank

- if your planning to run a sump, you could also put your plants in there. It would free up some space in your tank.

4) Does anyone have any thoughts on the valve or ways to regulate the amount of water entering the sump

- This is done by installing a gate value before or after the return pump to limit the amount of flow returned into the display tank. If you choose a DC pump with a controller, you can set the pump from 0% to 100%. Personally, I run a Reeflo Hammerhead return pump and I have the gate valves tuned to allow as much or little water into the display tank as I want. I can post some pics of you would like a visualization. If your only planning to run 1 overflow line from the tank to the sump, I would absolutely not use a gate valve in that line.... that is a disaster waiting to happen if a snail or fish gets stuck in there the tank will overflow.

shamoo
10/04/2017, 01:24 PM
Hi shaginwagon13,

great advise thanks. i have re-plan my plumbing so my 2" overflow will be split using a Y tee which i will be able to dismantle. although this is esentially 1 overflow by splitting it into 2 with smaller pipes it shouldreduce the chances of the main 2" pipe getting blocked. if one of the 1.5" gets blocks at least i will have another overflow pipe, unless of course the the 2" Y branch gets blocked. i will install at least 3 counter messures of these getting blocked.

i was starting to look at fish / clean up crew today while at work, but got interupted lol. so thats next on the agenda.

could i run carbon and a skimmer?

thanks

shaginwagon13
10/04/2017, 02:19 PM
You can simply add a pvc strainer to help prevent fish or snails from entering the overflow pipe. It looks like this:

https://www.savko.com/collections/bulkhead-tank-adapters/products/strainer?variant=12158000001

For clean-up crew it's my personal preference to NEVER add any crabs. Regardless of size or claim to not eat fish, I had a terrible experiance in my first tank with a crab that would not stop eating snails, and smaller fish at night. Again, this is just my experiance but it's something for you to consider.

Yes, you can run your skimmer and your carbon reactor at the same time and I do that as well. To be honest, I don't run carbon or any media while the tank is cycling however I do run the skimmer for the cycle and leave the lights in for 3-4 hours but no more.