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Old 11-25-2004, 11:47 PM   #1
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How the heck??????? Diagrams plz

an aunt gave us a 75 gal saltwater tank with about 150 lbs of live rock and a TON of equipment (all for free b/c she's too old to deal with it) and none of it has any directions or instructions. She is kind of senile now so getting help from her is really difficult and although i have been studying saltwater stuff for about a year now I'm pretty good on fish info but i am clueless about the technical aspects. I have NO IDEA where to begin with all of this equipment.


So far i have 3 PHs running in the tank and 2 heaters in there set at about 80 degrees and the salinity is staying around 1.025. there is about a 3" sand bed. I have no other equipment or filtration working in there right now. Now i just need to find out how to set up everything else. I have a big plastic tub that i figured i can use as a sump (about 20 gal) I just don't have any idea how to make it work.......any diagrams would be helpful.

Sofar what i have in front of me to work with is.....
1. one of those clear plastic hang on containers with slashes in it and that was attached to a big black plastic container that has 2 tubes running down out of it.

2. i also have a skimmer (or at least that is what she told me it was) but i have no idea how to put that together and get it working ( i know that it is a Sealife)


3. Lots of pvc pipe in pieces along with other misc equipment like sponges and stuff


4. several airpumps, several water pumps, and a few extra ph's

5. lots of filter medium stuff that i don't know where/what it goes into along with lots of chemicals for ph up/down and other types of dosing


So again, any DIAGRAMS of how these things are basically put together would be helpful....MY BF is good at figuring things out but somewhere to start from would be awesome.
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75g FW 1 Red Devil

10gFW QT

75g SW approx 150lbs live Figi and Tonga rock just sitting around cuz we can't afford to do more right now
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Old 11-26-2004, 12:42 AM   #2
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OK Jenny(?), I'm going to try to explain the overflow/sump so that it makes some sense. I know, if you have never dealt with this stuff before, it can be terribly confusing. I'm attaching a really pathetic diagram of an overflow that I made some time ago. An overflow basically consists of two acrylic boxes that are connected in the center. A "U" shaped siphon tube goes from one box to the other. This is how the water is transferred. If you'll look at the diagram, you'll see that the box on the right is labelled "internal box" and the one on the left is labelled "external box". The overflow hangs on the back wall of the tank with the internal box (that's the one with the slashes cut into the top edge)inside the tank and the external box outside the tank. There should be a U shaped tube that will go over the back wall of the tank...connecting the boxes. This is the siphon tube...we call it a "U tube". These come in several different configurations...some are round pipe and have a rounded curve on top. Some are wide/flat looking and, instead of making a U shape, they are more squared off. Some even have an airline connection at the top...don't worry about that now...just locate the U tube and place it in the overflow as shown in the diagram. I'm going to assume you are familiar with the concept of a siphon and how it tries to equalize the levels of the liquid being siphoned. The internal box should be adjusted down so that water will flow in from the tank through the slots in the upper edge of the box. The connection at the bottom of the external box should be piped down to the sump. Once you have that in place, run a piece of airline tubing up inside the U tube and pull the air out so that water begins to flow through it...try to get all the air out of it. If there is an airline connection on the U tube, you can use that to remove the air from it, but you'll have to plug the airline with something once you get it flowing. You'll have to have a pump in the sump to return the water to the tank. As water is pumped up to the tank and the water level rises, it flows into the internal box, through the U tube, and into the external box. From there, it flows back down to the sump. Since the external box is always draining, the siphon will continue to try to equalize the water levels which results in a continuous flow of water. See if you can get this set up...if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to post them...and then we can take it a step further and talk about setting up the sump/return pump. Also, please let us know if your U tube has the airline connection at the top as this will require some additional setup to function properly long term. HTH and sorry for such a long answer.
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Old 11-26-2004, 12:52 AM   #3
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the u tube does not have an airline connection at the top.....so should i use good old lung suction???
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75g FW 1 Red Devil

10gFW QT

75g SW approx 150lbs live Figi and Tonga rock just sitting around cuz we can't afford to do more right now
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Old 11-26-2004, 12:59 AM   #4
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That's how I do it. And, if you're careful, you won't even get a mouthfull of salt water . If you have room in the overflow, you can invert the U tube, fill it with water, plug the ends with your fingers, and carefully sit it back into the overflow. I've never been able to do that, but I have large hands and I'm pretty clumsy too.
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Old 11-26-2004, 01:33 AM   #5
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You can also run airline into the U tube, and suck it that way.
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Old 11-26-2004, 01:43 AM   #6
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thank you so much for taking the time to explain this step by step Loganj !!! we are golden and crystal clear so far..........so now i guess we should move on to the sump itself. i believe i should have some sand and live rock in there right? and if so how much of each? and what should my water level be?

also the external box has 2 hoses coming out..i know one goes into the sump....where does the second one go? the skimmer or something (sorry if this sounds stupid i've never looked at one in person so i'm just trying to use my imagination and visualize)

i'm also not sure how to put together that skimmer thing and where and how it goes


TIA!!!! Jenny
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75g FW 1 Red Devil

10gFW QT

75g SW approx 150lbs live Figi and Tonga rock just sitting around cuz we can't afford to do more right now
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Old 11-26-2004, 06:24 PM   #7
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Both lines from the external box will drain into the sump. The sump is basically a place to put equipment so it doesn't clutter up the tank. I probably wouldn't put sand/rock in there. There is a type of sump called a refugium that does use LR and sand, but you can add that later if you decide to go that route.
You'll need a return pump for the sump. If you're going to use a plastic container or a small aquarium, I'd go with a Mag Drive. Any submersible pump will work, but the Mag Drives are pretty good quality and not too expensive. You may already have a pump with the equipment you got though. The pump goes in the sump opposite from the drain lines coming from the overflow box. You can put your skimmer and heater in the sump as well. Anyway, run a line ( I like to use PVC, but clear flex tubing will work fine) from the pump up to the tank. Most sumps work fine about 1/2 full of water. You don't want to run it too full though. If your pump quits or the power goes out, all the water in the tank that is above the level of the internal overflow box is going to drain down into the sump. Water will also siphon back through the pump into the sump. You want the sump to be able to contain all this water without overflowing. You'll want to either position the return line (pump to tank) close to the surface or drill a small hole in it close to the surface. This is so the siphon will be broken in case the pump quits. Coming home to find 30gal of water in the floor will make you say things you wouldn't want your mother to know you said . Most folks find that they need a couple of baffles in the sump to control bubbles. These are just walls that forces the water to flow over and under them between the drain and the pump. This usually eliminates the bubbles...they are unsightly in the main tank and aren't good for the LR either. It's sort of a trial and error thing...you may find you don't need them. I would suggest doing a Google search on sumps. Also check on about.com. You'll find some pretty good diagrams there. Check the links section here as well. There are some good links to DIY sites that have plans for sump construction.
As far as the skimmer goes, I'm not familiar with the skimmer you have. If I had it in front of me, I'm sure I could put it together. It's going to be hard to do it online though. Hopefully, someone here has experience with the model you have. You might want to start another post..."Need help with Sealife mdl XXX skimmer" for example and I'm sure one of the members will be able to tell you what you need to know about it. HTH.
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Old 11-27-2004, 11:57 PM   #8
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sorry haven't gotten back to you so far sounds good but i've had 2 double shifts at work in a row and have another one tomorrow so i haven't had a chance to try it out yet. I was wondering, however, why are there 2 drains to the pump? what purpose does 2 serve over one other than getting more water into there? is it to keep the pump from going dry?
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75g FW 1 Red Devil

10gFW QT

75g SW approx 150lbs live Figi and Tonga rock just sitting around cuz we can't afford to do more right now
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Old 11-28-2004, 03:45 AM   #9
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It sounds like you have an overflow with a fairly high flow rating. Most of the time, instead of having one large drain, they will have two 1" drains. Two drains will usually run quieter than one as well. When you're close to the maximum flow on an overflow drain, it will often make gurgling sounds...I had one that sounded like a toilet flushing 8O .
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Old 11-29-2004, 02:00 AM   #10
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the 2 tubes going into the sump are actually about 1 1/2" - 1 3/4" each so they seem really large, and they are not the regular clear plastic tubing. They are both black accordian-like plastic. Does that change anything with the setup? i have a whole day off so i want to get this finished up if possible.
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55g FW 2 panda corys, 2 skunk corys, 3 bronze corys, 2 albino, 1 (6") common pleco, 1 (3") common pleco, 5 neon tetras, 5 black skirts, 3 zebra danios, 5 rasboras, 4 red eye tetras, 1 glo light tetras, 2 med clown loaches

75g FW 1 Red Devil

10gFW QT

75g SW approx 150lbs live Figi and Tonga rock just sitting around cuz we can't afford to do more right now
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