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Old 03-29-2005, 02:51 PM   #1
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Need some expert help!

I am posting this here because my questions are mostly about equipment. I am not new to salt, but I've only done fish only (80g) with decent success. I am setting up a 120 gallon FOWLR setup (corner tank) that I bought from someone else and I need some help! I am now set up to use RO water. I will be starting with about 50-60 lbs of lace reef rock and 50-60 lbs of live rock. My substrate will be crushed coral, but not live.

Here are my questions! If you can answer one or all, it will be appreciated. This forum is really really helpful for someone without a ton of experience!

1) It has a 1" drain with a 3/4" return, but he has installed another two 3/4" lines in the tower. The head is 4-5'. It came with a Rio 1700 (642gph) return pump, but I upgraded to a RIO HF20 (1290gph). I'm thinking I could use the extra tower plumping to increase the overflow and split the return - since the pump is likely faster than my overflow - but the sump is about 15-20 gallons and leads into a 5 gallon trickle filter. Do I have room to increase the flow? Is this a good idea?

2) I have 3 Sunpaq quad 96's giving me 288 watts (10K/actinic split). Is this sufficient lighting for a FOWLR?

3) Assuming I stick with the sump/filter setup (I don't have much space to increase it), what should I do with the sump? The skimmer, bio-media and return pump are all in the filter resevoir. The picture below is the filter. Imagine the 15-20 gal sump attached perpendicular by a bulkhead fitting.


4) Oddly enough, the tower is 4" short of the top of the tank. I don't know if he had it custom built or if this is normal. Will it be a problem to maintain the water level 4" above the overflow? I could cap the top of the tower off to prevent fish from getting pulled in.

5) I have a fluval 304 canister filter from my old setup. I have heard that it can be a nitrate breeder unless you clean it weekly. Would it be worth it to just install it, take out all the dividers, and fill it with carbon or something and run it out of the sump?

6) The skimmer (see picture above) is powered by a Rio 600 (200gph). This just seems small. With the skimmer/filter setup I have, can I just use my Rio 1700 (642gph) or with this skimmer not work with that much flow. I think the Rio 600 came from Tenecor, from whom he bought the setup.

7) For current, I have these powerheads: mag drive pump at 250 gph, Rio 1700 at 642 gph and Via Aqua 306 at 542 gph. I have read that the best water flow is a random turbulence caused by having the powerheads generally pointing at each other. This would be difficult in a corner tank, but is it what I should aim for?

I know these are a lot of questions, but after two weeks of reading countless articles, I am now at a point where I need some specific help with my setup. I'm not worried about getting perfection because I'm not planning on tough corals, anemones or anthing like that, but I want my live rock to do well and my fish to be happy.

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:21 PM   #2
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Wow lots of questions. all good ones though.

Try splitting up some of your questions into sperate topics. You may be overwhelming people.

I will answer a few.

2) 288watts should be ok for a fowlr tank of 120 gal. although more would not hurt.

5) Yes the canister filter and your wet/dry will become nitrate factories. I would use the canister for water polishing when you feel the need. I use a H.O.T magnum for a day or two when Im doing monthly cleanings

7) I would split the return from the sump. this way you would have 600gph times two to play with. Then I would use one of the other pumps to add flow or create counter current where needed. Flow and current are kind of trial and error but a good rule of thumb is to have at least 10x your tank gallons.

Good luck!
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:30 AM   #3
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Making it simpler.

That's a good idea to narrow my focus. I'll just stick with the overflow and return for now.

I think I will split the return. Won't I have too much return for the overflow, however? Eventually, all of the overflow has to go through a 1 1/4" bulkhead into the filter. Isn't there a max of 400-500 gph? If my return is so high, won't the pump resevoir empty itself before the overflow catches up. These may be dump questions, but I'm trying to figure out the way flow and return works.

Would it make a difference if I drilled another bulkhead connection between the filter and sump? Would the 4 gallon filter reservoir be overpowered?

Thanks for your help! It's GREATLY appreciated!

Clint
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:35 AM   #4
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288 is plenty of light for a 120 fowlr. might even be enough to support more than fowlr.
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:10 PM   #5
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Thanks, I'm sure this lighting will be fine. I ran an 80 gallon on 100 watts forever until I realized that it's more than about just seeing the fish! ;o)

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:53 PM   #6
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I see your sump/filter now. I think I have the same brand CPR, system was given to me. Mines drains into a 55 gallon sump so it never gets more than an inch of water. With a pump connected directly it will fill up higher so you could put LR rubble. Go to there web site www.cpraquatic.com they have alot of info available. As to the over flow tower, water would never get above it, if you did get water above it that means that water is entering the tank faster then its draining and the tank will be flooding the room shortly after.
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Old 03-31-2005, 01:56 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info!

Are you saying that your sump never fills to more than an inch? Is that because the overflow isn't very fast? I'm trying to figure this all out, but I'm doing most of it in theory because I don't know for sure what the flow rates will work out to be.

I have a Rio HF20 return and I just connected a second overflow to increase flow to the sump. I have a ball valve in the return line. Do I just run it and adjust the valve until the overflow is slightly ahead of the pump?

Thanks!
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Old 03-31-2005, 04:55 AM   #8
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FIrst of all u need a way larger sump for a 120 gallon tank! I have a 30 gallon sump on my 60 gallon alone! You always want extra room incase mistakes do happen. DO NOT risk your living room/library/whatever to become flooded with an unneccesary water flood disatater.


1. I think you should go with at least a 40 gallon sump. Or maybe add an attached Refug that is at least 10-30 gallons.... more cant hurt! That whay you dont need to worry about the overflowing. Limiting the flow of a pump can casue pump damage and also overheat causing a temperature fluctuation.

2. Fish only tank does not need light at all, it is optional. If you plan on doing the FOWLR as you mentioned earlier, Your lighting is sufficient for soft corals only. I would not try acros or any sps, because it will most likely just be a waste of money.

3. Get a bigger Sump!!! it wont cost you THAT much

4. To prevent fish from getting pulled in, just attach a screen or mesh sheet, across the top of the overflow slits, and that should solve that. and also how could you maintain the water level 4" above the overflow? you mean the drain on the bottm?

5. I would personally go with carbon. I dont even use a canister filter. My sump, LR, UV sterlizier and skimmer do a great job of maintaining filtration and providing great water quality. (not to mention my chems too)

6. SKimmers do not neccessarly need a powerful pump. as long as it is skimming the water and removing toxins and waste and such, then it is doing its job. The size of the skimmer would be the only reason to get a more powerful pump for it. If the 600 does the job, then id go for that. Unles you personally think that the 1700 is more efficient. With the picture given above, i would think the 600 is fine !

7. A swaying current is always most prefered by fish. That would creat a nice natural current. The product called SCWD, is a T valve that automatically adjusts a "natural" current. You may want to look into that because running all those pumps may be electricity costly. You should maybe get a HF32 (or 27 if thats the right #) and hook it up to a SCWD to T the returns back in to the display, energy efficient and also "natural" current creating.

I think this forum will help you out plenty! and good luck!
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Old 03-31-2005, 09:20 AM   #9
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My CPR filter's final chamber never fills because it dumps into a 55 gal sump. Will attach picture.
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Old 03-31-2005, 09:24 AM   #10
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That picture wasn't that clear heres another one
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