• Julia is now ten and getting big...
  • Diagnosed with advanced liver disease and liver cancer.

Saltwater Aquarium Purchase and Setup


I purchased a used 72 gallon reef ready Oceanic bow front aquarium.


It came with -


Oceanic Tank

Oceanic black wood stand

Oceanic black plastic canopy

Oceanic sump - I think it says SM so I'm guessing that means small

Black bio balls tower with foam sponge (mechanical), drip tray and bio balls.

AquaC protein skimmer with small pump

Ehiem pump - I think it's a 250 (1250) - "not an ehiem pump but a Chinese replica"/p>

Various plumbing supplies.

A nitrate test kit

A net

Some food

A siphon/cleaning kit. 5' long


$600


The previous owner has rigged up the drain with a durso type standpipe but had lost the drain bulkhead. The return consisted of a vinyl tube and a flexible spray tube.


I purchased from a Denver fish store -

An AGA overflow kit

A Rio 800 and 90 pumps - the 800 for tank circulation and the 90 to mix saltwater.

A 300 watt heater for the tank (will go in the sump). The previous owner had not used a heater due to heat from the pump. Given our mountain location I bought heaters just in case.

A 100 watt heater for the saltwater mixing tub.

A 2' flexible hose

60lbs of medium sized sand (dry and bagged).

2 25' python siphon/cleaning kits

Big bottle of stress coat - can you have too much declorinater?

$300

Total spent so far:  $900

I purchased from Home depot -

1 1/4" clear vinyl tube - 3 to connect the AGA overflow drain to the sump via flexible tube (read coupling)

20' of clear 1/2" vinyl tubing - for the small pumps - way more than I need but

Zip ties


The tank, with Beaver Creek in the reflection.









With sump - you can see it sticks out. At some point the base of the stand had become wet and the sump had sunk in. It left a distinct impression in the base.



I didn't have a complete connection from the AGA overflow/bulkhead to the drain pipe so I improved. I came up with this. Coupling for AGA bulkhead drain and flexible drain tube. I used clear vinyl 1 1/4"tube



With bulkhead - make sure it fits




Connected - The zip ties holding the tubes to the bulkheads hold quite well. The zip tie connecting the 1 1/4" coupler to the flexible tubing drips. VERY SLOWLY. But it drips. I'll have to do some thing better.



My first attempt at plumbing the system. I wanted to use the flexible tube so that I could easily access the sump. The previous owner had a number of fixtures attached to the bulkhead for the sump. I used these and another 1 1/4"coupler to connect the flexible hose.




I filled the tank for a test run to make sure there were no leaks and to ensure that my plumbing solution was as brilliant as I thought it would be. Not that I wasn't sure but a wife's wrath is to be avoided, I checked to make sure.


This didn't work well for a number of reasons. Yes the water drained from the overflow but the noise was unacceptable. You can see the sump bulkhead and various fittings from the previous owner at the bottom of the pic above. What isn't so clear is that I used 1 1/4" tube to connect the flexible tube to those fittings. The combination of the loop which created more suction and gulping noises and the ever changing diameter of the drain fittings backed up the water creating more turbulence and pressure imbalance created quite a commotion.


But it didn't leak, much. Ok. To be fair, it was only that small drop of water from the drain that I noticed.


I ended up with this as my final test run setup. Changes to be made



I tried a few things along the way. Sorry, I didn't take pics but here are some clues.

I tried an old piece of plumbing from the previous owner and did a straight drop to the sump. So, the drain pipe no longer does a loop. That helped with the LOUD cyclic flushing noise from the sump and helped reduce the gulping noise in the overflow.

Although the straight drop helped with the noise from the overflow the noise in the sump remained way to high. The water crashing down on the sponge in the drip tray was the cause. The previous owner had told me that he would place a bio ball under the stream of water to break it up and reduce noise. I tried this. The tone changed but I didn't notice a volume change. Bummer

I decided just to fool around with everything and try as many combinaftions as possible. One of the first things I did was to remove the bio tower and drop the drain pipe into the water of the sump.

Wow. Bob's your uncle. That is much better.

The end of the drain is underwater, that seemed to help with the splashing noise problem. The combination of a straight drop for the water and submerging the drain made a huge difference.

But now I had a lot of water movement noise in the sump. Even though the end of the drain pipe was underwater the flow and some turbulence/pressure imbalance caused dramatic turbulence/noise in the sump. And without restraint the drain would knock against the side of the tank.

Better but still noisy. Hmmm

I put the bio tower back in and directed the drain on a small foam filter over the eggcrate. You can still see the water agitation despite the foam filter and eggcrate in the bio tower. This final step quieted the drain to an almost acceptable level. I might need more water in the sump to submerge the drain tube a little more.



Now my biggest issue is pump noise. I'm going to cut the return line so that it doesn't rest against the sump or the wall.


I think that will help but I think the pump noise is still going to annoy me. I'll try some foam under the pump and I'm thinking of putting foam under the sump but time will tell.

Even though pump noise is the main problem now I still have some noise in the drain. It's a rhythmic sound although not predictable enough to ignore. I'm focusing on the drain and the coupler. Take another look at the connection pic and you will notice the bubbles in the drain line.



I will shorten that connecting tube so that the bulkhead and the flexible drain tube are flush. I have also considered just using the 1 1/4"tubing from the drain bulkhead to the sump. My issue with that solution is that I will not be able to move that tube or the entrance to the sump without cutting it since that tubing is NOT flexible. This precludes any ideas of easy maintenance or modification.

I am considering changing the bulkheads to a threaded type. Of course this would make most of my AGA overflow kit useless as I would need threaded connections. And with threaded connections I would end up with fixed plumbing structures so again modification would be difficult.

I tried moving the overflow standpipe up and down as suggested in some forums etc. That didn't work for me. I did settle on having the standpipe at it's lowest level. I may change my mind later but I didn't think it made any different in my overflow noise.

I still have to deal with the water movement noise in the sump. That bio tower with a piece of foam just isn't going to work long term. And I think I want to use bio balls for bio filtration since to start off with this tank will be for fish. I can't just dump the water onto the foam and drip tray, it's just too loud. I'll have to figure out a solution for the sump.

ISSUES:

Wife

  • Pregnant with first child - how much commitment to aquarium? So should it be FO, FOWLR, or go for the reef?

  • Loves the idea of having Nemo (Geez) No idea of the commitment. But a TRUE animal lover. May be good for her.

  • Me; chores, baby, husbandly duties - do I have time for this?

    • Reef or FOWLER

      • FOWLER stupid, you don't have time.

      • OK, so what do I need?


Pump noise - is this pump enough anyway? If it is the 1250 then probably not.

  • How does pump size affect the surge effect in the overflow/sump

  • If I need more flow should I do 2 pumps or one big one? I am worried about noise.

  • Install ball valve.

Overflow noise - still have gurgling effect although minor in comparison to first setup

  • Pump water flow?

Sump noise - seems like a lot of water volume.

  • Another baffle in the sump for drain return would help - seems like an old wet/dry design, the drain dumps right on the foam and drip tray. I don't see any way to make this quiet. The drain should lead into it's own chamber and then overflow into a wet/dry if desired. I think this is how all new models are designed (sump/refridgium(sp. Whatever)).

  • Drain Socks? - Maintenance - how to coupe with vacation etc.

  • Volume of water in sump - does this make a difference - obviously for the return to be underwater - but does depth of return make a difference (pressure balance) - and pump noise isolation, will more water isolate pump noise.


Time to break down the tank again and get everything ready.

ToDo.

Refinish tank stand

  • Sand minor outside scratches and moisture patterns

    • Replace brass fixtures or refinish

    • Paint outside of stand - matt black

  • Sand inside bottom, sides bear and level.

    • Paint black

    • 1-3 layers clear coat

    • Possible one layer of rubberized product

  • Paint stand matt black

Sump

  • Place wood insert in bottom of tank to ensure level

  • Replace with new, correct sump for tank including proper drain wet/dry solution for quiet tank

Lights

  • FOWLER or reef

  • Want FOWLER with basic inverts - leathers, shrooms, dusters, coralline. You know little stuff to make the tank a little more special and exciting.

RO/DI

  • Sucks in the mountains and I hate to waste what little water we have up here.

Plumbing

  • New sump or moving of current sump to allow a straight drop for the drain

  • Return line should be cut to reduce head and not touch sump, stand, tank or wall.

    • Add ball valve.

  • Drain

    • Add ball valve

    • Eliminating, flow obstructions in the drain. This seems to be a major cause of drain noise. New sump from AGA includes plumbing and should be compatible with AGA overflow.

  • Hard fixtures

    • Should I add?

Ok. I made some purchases from Drfostersandsmith including the following.


Item #

Description

Price

Qty

CD-925380

Insert x Insert Reducing Adapters 3/4" Insert x 1/2" Insert

$1.79

x


=

CD-909132

Threaded Ball Valves 3/4"

$7.99

x


=

CD-270314

MPT x Insert Adapters 3/4" x 3/4"

$1.29

x


=

CD-133309

Mag Drive Pump 500

$57.79

x


=

CD-134784

Mag Drive - Parts & Accessories 500/700 Replacement Sponge (mfg# 12505)





Quantity discount has been applied.







$4.29

x


=

$12.87

CD-11815

Vinyl Tubing 3/4" ID Clear 5'

$4.89

x


=

CD-14035

Portable Refractometer 0-100 ppt salinity and





1.000-1.070 specific gravity

$41.99

x


=

$41.99

CD-18773

Thermometer 2-1/4" x 1-1/2"

$6.99

x


=

CD-22841

MegaFlow Sump Filter Model 2

$249.99

x


=

CD-22845

MegaFlow Sump Filter Prefilter Media for Model 2 (3 pk)

$10.99

x


=

CD-25773

Master Test Kit 5-in-1

$35.99

x


=

CD-26904

Fish Acclimation Kit 3-pk

$6.99

x


=

CD-27271

Plastic Clamps "C" for 1/2" OD & Eheim 9/12 mm

$1.49

x


=

CD-27274

Plastic Clamps "G" for 3/4" OD

$1.49

x


=

CD-27278

Plastic Clamps "N" for 1-1/4" OD & Eheim 25/34 mm

$1.79

x


=

CD-21698

MegaFlow Sump Filter Blue Bubble Diffusing Sponge





for Models 1 & 2

$2.99

x


=

$11.96

Subtotal

=

$508.95



Total spent so far:  $1408.95

I'm also in the process of "refinishing" the stand. There were a couple of places where water hand leaked and the wood had swollen and pushed upwards. In addition the sump wasn't really the right size for the stand and from previous water leaks had sank into the wood. This left a nice template for placing the sump but any other position caused the sump to tilt.




I'm using an exterior black paint and then will use a clear coat to protect the paint and hopefully provide a basic level of waterproofing.

I've purchased a few more things


Item #

Description

Price

Qty

Extended



CD-912221

Aqua Gloves Pair

$15.99

x

2

=

$31.98

CD-525156

OSMO Prep Marine 1000 g

$9.89

x

1

=

$9.89

CD-18782

Pure-Flo II RO Units 50 gpd 3-stage

$139.99

x

1

=

$139.99

CD-21096

Purple Up 16 oz

$13.99

x

1

=

$13.99

CD-25747

Pure-Flo II Float & Shutoff Valve

$19.99

x

1

=

$19.99

CD-27271

Plastic Clamps "C" for 1/2" OD & Eheim 9/12 mm

$1.49

x

6

=

$8.94

CD-27274

Plastic Clamps "G" for 3/4" OD

$1.49

x

6

=

$8.94

CD-27277

Plastic Clamps "K" for 1" OD

$1.49

x

6

=

$8.94

CD-27278

Plastic Clamps "N" for 1-1/4" OD & Eheim 25/34 mm

$1.79

x

6

=

$10.74

CD-33083

Sundial T-5 Canopy Light Fixtures 48" Item on backorder, expected in on 04/02/08

$329.99

x

1

=

$329.99

Subtotal

=





$583.39

Standard

Shipping (Within 7 business days)

$17.99



=

$17.99

TOTAL

=





$601.38

Total spent so far:  $2010.33


I finished the stand and setup the tank.

The sump plumbing. As you can see I've traded the old sump for a new AGA sump model 2. It fits inside the stand instead of hanging out the back like the old one. I've got the protein skimmer in there but it's not running yet. You will also notice a ball valve on the return line. I use this only when I'm changing the water to stop a water from slowly leaking down the line.



You'll also notice the flexible pipe and circle again in the drain line. It seems that because the pipe in the sump goes to the very bottom and is slotted along the way the pipe it doesn't cause as much noise as in the previous setup. I do get the occasional slurp and I think this would go away with a straight pipe. But I like the ability to move the sump without disconnecting everything.