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Old 06-26-2003, 03:26 AM   #1
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No room for my protein skimmer and BIO-wheel

I am putting together my first tank, and I have a used (5 year old) 55 gal tank. I bought a new filter system with a BIO-wheel and a protein skimmer. The problem is: there is not enough room on the back of the tank to "hang" the BIO-wheels (about 24 inches) and the skimmer (about 16 inches), because the long rectangular whole in the top of the tank is only 20 inches.

Do you have any advice? Can I just use a hacksaw to cut a bigger rectangle on the top of the acrylic tank?
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:52 AM   #2
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I had an acrylic tank that had to be "modified" to accomodate the filter I purchased because the hood wouldn't fit down. I used a Dremel and one of the tungsten carbide bits to enlarge the opening. It worked fine, but in hindsight, I think I would have rather tried a Dremel reinforced cutting disk and attacked it a little at a time to get a cleaner cut than I was able to get with the tungsten bit. Just make sure you're not going to cause any structural damage by cutting through anything that gives the aquarium support and you should be ok.
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Old 06-26-2003, 04:37 AM   #3
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How are you setting the tank up? LR? DSB? Will it be a reef or a fish only? The reason I ask is that you may not need all that filtration.
If you must cut the tank, I've found that a circular saw (slowly and VERY carefully) with a paneling blade will do a good job making freehand cuts on acrylic. I would suggest clamping a guide of some kind to the tank though. You could finish up the corners with a hacksaw blade. Make sure you leave a lip on the back of the tank or it will bow out when you add the water. Just for the record, I don't recommend doing this...I'd get different filtration.
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Old 06-26-2003, 11:25 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice loganj and wabyrd.

I will be creating a fish only tank initially and then I would like to add live rock within a year. Since this is my first tank, I wanted to play it safe and over-filtrate the tank somewhat. Thanks for the tips on modifying the top of the tank.

I will go back the fish shop and see if there is another system that requires less space. I have a Magnum 350 canister, two large BIO wheels, and the protein skimmer. Is that too much for this type of tank? Since I am a beginner I want a filtration system that will help me keep my fish healthy.
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:18 PM   #5
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OK, I read your other post and now know more about your tank. Do you still have the skilter? If so, can you take it and the Magnum back? The skilter, although I have used one with some success, isn't much of a filter or skimmer. The Magnum, while it's a good canister, has no biological capacity without the bio wheels. If you think you might want to go with a reef tank later, you're going to need a good skimmer. Better to buy it now. Aqua C Remora, CPR Bakpak, Red Sea Berlin HOB. These would be the ones I'd look at with the Berlin being my top choice, Aqua number two, CPR last. They are all good skimmers. For the biofilter, why not add a sump? You could start off with a wet/dry and remove the media as you add the LR to the tank. Or, you could take the money you're going to spend on the filter and use it for LR to start with. This is an expensive hobby and it seems better to me to get what you're going to need first instead of buying things that are going to have to be replaced later. If you could start the tank with a DSB and 50lbs or so of LR, you'd be way ahead. Then you could add some more LR later and you'd be reef ready.
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Old 06-26-2003, 07:53 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice wabyrd and loganj. I just returned the BIO-wheel and protein skimmer. I did not know that cutting into the top would cause structural issues. I exchanged the skilter skimmer for a Prizm (which they said was better), and removed the BIO-wheel. Now everything will fit, but I have not BIO-wheel.
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