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Old 06-11-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
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Plexiglas in a reef?

I'm building an internal fuge/filter in my 28 bowfront. I used plexiglas so I could put a nice bow in it to match the front (and so I could fit my hand in it). I'm going to build a faux reef cement wall over it to hide the pumps on the sides. The middle will be a fuge for growing food, plants, and a few delicate guys. As an after thought, I think leaving the center of the reef wall open to be able to see into the fuge would be pretty much awesome. SOOOooo... My question is how will the plexiglas hold up? Has anyone used plexiglas (not cast acrylic) in a reef tank? As decore or anything?

I have a cheapy 5g nano that is made out of this stuff and it's been running for a month. I stuck a limpet to the "glass" thinking he would help keep it clean. He roamed around it munchin away and I can see tiny etched trails where he had been and scratched the glass with his raspers. Once I took him off the side he hasn't ventured back up there. The scratches are very fine and I'm wondering if I would even see them if there were water on both sides of the glass.

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Here's what I'm building:
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I'm putting 2 mini pumps in each side instead of 1 bigger one. One low output and one higher (height, not flow rate).

Build thread coming soon.

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #2
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That is a really neat idea. As I was reading I kept looking over at my 36 FOWLR bowfront. What I would do, since plexiglass will get scratched and beat in a saltwater system...I would get a piece of something more durable, say acrylic, and go from a bow to...well, whatever shape a bow with corners has on it. This will allow you to create the wall you were talking about to strengthen and provide longevity to the plexiglass sides and then have a viewing window that will provide what it is you are looking for. Infact, I would actually recommend acrylic since it is clearer than normal glass and it would probably bond easier to the plexiglass, just not sure about that.

This is a really cool idea. You are turning a 28 gal into a 20 gal nano with internal fuge. The best part is this will actually be able to be a good fuge for exporting nutrients. The small ones usually don't work to the best of their ability.

My only other suggestion would be to maybe work with one return pump rather than 2 and if you are wanting more flow for the fuge then you could add a powerhead. That might make things a tad more simple from my viewpoint.

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Old 06-11-2012, 01:44 PM   #3
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I'm new to the saltwater so I want to try n get it right the first time. From my research, it was said to be better to have many small pumps over one big one. The idea of my design is to hide all the mechanical stuff. Powerheads are great n all but I think they're ugly. Pumps on both sides ensures even flow over the fuge. And then there's versatility. With 4 pumps I can put one pair on a wave controller if I want. I could do one side at a time, do only the tops or bottoms, or alternate them diagonally. The plan is to have 4 160 gph pumps. 2 on each side for 320 gph per side. If any of them burn out, they're $15 ea.

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Old 06-12-2012, 02:19 AM   #4
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I'd go with 1/4" acrylic instead of plexiglass. That plexiglass will bow out after time. The 1/4" acrylic isn't going anywhere. I'd keep the acrylic straight instead of bowing it. Just bring it out closer to the front a bit so you can fit your hand in it etc.
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