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Old 04-08-2010, 03:27 AM   #1
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Help! Newbie trying to manage an existing marine aquarium

Hi all, hope you can offer insight/advice. I am concerned about flow/circulation to my setup. In brief:

90 gallon marine tank w/sump system, protein skimmer and chiller (that I don't think works).
Water delivery: outlet at the top of the tank
Water return: overflow design also at the top of the tank
Pump: 3MDQX-SC Little Giant pump that replaced a 4MDQX-SC pump that recently burned out.
The catch: ~16 foot vertical headspace

When I tested the flow, I calculated it to be around 150 gallons/hour. Circulation on the top half of the tank is pretty lackluster, can't really detect circulation on the bottom portion of the tank. I'd like to start out with a few fish (clowns, tangs, etc.), but would like the ability to do something more complex if possible, later on.

The solutions I came up with were to:
1) replace the newly replaced pump with a bigger one
2) buy another more powerful pump and run it parallel to the existing
3) buy a submersible pump for the tank to gain better circulation

I would prefer not to rearrange the tank to reduce the vertical head unless absolutely necessary since it will be a major pain. Any thought would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:24 AM   #2
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Look at some Koralia PH's (Power Heads). Try 2/3. Point them at eachother, angled towards the centre of the tank. This should create some random turbulent flow.

As for fish, in a 90G the only tank that you can really fit is a Yellow Tang. Some little Clowns are great hardy fish, I would recommend them to anyone.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:21 AM   #3
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That turnover of less than 2x per hour, (150g / 90g) isn't good. I'm not one to help with the physics application, but any overflow ("outlet at the top of the tank", overflow tube or box) is only gonna be rated for a max amount of gph. Need to find out what that is. Post the size of that outlet and maybe someone can calculate what that max gph is that'll run thru there.

I'm hoping you could shoot to increase that 150gph to around 1000 for better reefing opportunities later as you say.

The powerheads/"submersible pumps" are considered a "flow rate". They just provide the underwater "breeze". Good flow rates are nice to as corals love it up to the point your fish and sand can stand it. The pump is more about the tank's "turnover rate" and how much is being filtered every hour. The more the better IMO.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:11 AM   #4
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+1 for above comments. You need both a tank volume turnover and interna tank flow. The original pump would give you about 550gph which is probably close to the what the overflow is rated at. I'm guessing the overflow is rated at 600gph, but we need more info, like make and model or tube size.
In the Little Giant Quantum series
MDQX-SC is rated for 675 at 12'HH
5-MD is rated for 747 at 12'HH'

Hy-Drive Pond Master Pro Proline
Pro 2100-XP Hy-Drive(gph) will give 850gph at 15' HH
Pro 4800-XP Hy-Drive(gph) will give 800gph at 15' HH

A Blue Line 100 would probably also do the job.

You should do some online research to determine the overflow rating and match a pump to that. It may take a phone call to get the pump rating at 16' HH

The new Koralia power heads are smaller than the previous version, conusme less electricity and move more water. A couple of those on opposite side of the tank pointing upwards and towards each other should give you plenty of flow.

I also agree that a YT is the only tang you should put in that length tank.

Good luck
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:12 AM   #5
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:26 AM   #6
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I love that animation. :
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:12 AM   #7
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Thanks!

Thanks so much for the advice!! The tank dimensions are:
Length: 46.5"
Width: 15"
Height: 27"

Overflow dimensions (fixed in a corner of the tank):
Length: 5"
Width: 4.5"
Height: 27"

I have ~1.5" of gravel in the bottom. The tank was custom made. The overflow has 1/4" x 2" slits cut on both sides (8 per side) to allow the water to drain. The diameter of the water delivery hose is 1" and the return pipe looks to be 1.5" in diameter.

The sump dimensions are:
Length: 28"
Width: 10"
Height: 12"

Does this help? Would love to get fish into there sooner or later, but just can't seem to get the environment quite right! I'm doing water changes now since the nitrate level was >200 and still is pretty high. It's growing a fair amount of green algae over the week, but I'm guessing it's because I don't have good circulation. Any feedback would be so appreciated!

Thanks!
Walt

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
+1 for above comments. You need both a tank volume turnover and interna tank flow. The original pump would give you about 550gph which is probably close to the what the overflow is rated at. I'm guessing the overflow is rated at 600gph, but we need more info, like make and model or tube size.
In the Little Giant Quantum series
MDQX-SC is rated for 675 at 12'HH
5-MD is rated for 747 at 12'HH'

Hy-Drive Pond Master Pro Proline
Pro 2100-XP Hy-Drive(gph) will give 850gph at 15' HH
Pro 4800-XP Hy-Drive(gph) will give 800gph at 15' HH

A Blue Line 100 would probably also do the job.

You should do some online research to determine the overflow rating and match a pump to that. It may take a phone call to get the pump rating at 16' HH

The new Koralia power heads are smaller than the previous version, conusme less electricity and move more water. A couple of those on opposite side of the tank pointing upwards and towards each other should give you plenty of flow.

I also agree that a YT is the only tang you should put in that length tank.

Good luck
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:29 AM   #8
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That algae is feeding on your very high nitrates.
Do you have live rock or bioballs or a filter sponge? Because if you do I recommend putting all of these in a tub with water covering them and emptying and refilling your whole system. This will be the best way for all of those levels (nitrates) to come down. Mix new SW fill the system, heat and run it and then put your liverock/bioballs/filter sponge back.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:50 PM   #9
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What do you mean by "heat it?" Should the sponge, balls, etc be put in salt or regular water? Any advice on the overflow for the pump? Should the system be able to accommodate a larger pump? I wasn't able to find much help with that calculation.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:56 PM   #10
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The sponge and bio balls and LR, which ever you have, should be put in a tub with salt water. Then empty everything, sump and tank, and fill it up with new salt water with a SG of 1.024 - 1.026. Then using your tank heater leave it until it has heated up to 25C - 26C (77-79F) then place your bio balls, or sponge, or live rock back into the tank or sump. Where ever they where originally.
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