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Old 12-17-2004, 11:53 PM   #1
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canister filter or sump/refugium?

I have a 46 gal bowfront that I want to make a reef tank with live sand live rock and lots of corals. Which would be more benificial a canister filter (rena filstar xp3, or other if reccomended) or a diy sump/refugium?
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Old 12-17-2004, 11:57 PM   #2
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The sump/fuge would be more beneficial to you and your critters. The canister really won't serve a purpose in a properly set up reef and it may cause you nitrate problems down the road. Check into having the tank drilled if you decide to go with a sump system.
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Old 12-17-2004, 11:59 PM   #3
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if I get an overflow box wouldn't that eliminate the need for drilling?
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Old 12-18-2004, 07:25 AM   #4
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Yes, it would. The advantage to having the tank drilled is that you aren't dependent on a siphon to keep the water flowing. External overflows are pretty reliable if set up properly, but if the siphon ever breaks, you will run the tank over. Having the tank drilled also allows you to have it closer to the wall.
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Old 12-18-2004, 08:58 PM   #5
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I don't mind if it is a little farther from the wall. I overflow seems like the easiest thing because the bowfront has a sticker on it that says not to drill it. I'm not sure if that means only the front or what. anyone know? If I were to get it drilled where would I put the hole?
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Old 12-18-2004, 10:39 PM   #6
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I'd probably take their word for it and not have it drilled. I'm sure the bottom is tempered glass and you can't drill tempered...it will shatter. You might be able to drill the back glass, but I would contact the manufacturer before I did. If you do dceide to have it drilled, I'd drill it through the back glass close to a corner and add an internal overflow. Different folks have different ideas about how this should be done, but I would drill it pretty low and go with a Durso style standpipe. JMHO. A good external overflow will work fine as long as you have it set up right. I would slightly oversize the overflow...if you intend to have an 800gph pump, I'd get an overflow rated for at least 1000gph. I prefer the U tube overflows, but others have had good luck with CPR style units. I would not trust a Rio pump on a CPR though. Either go with an Aqualifter or a MJ1200 powerhead.
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Old 12-19-2004, 03:57 AM   #7
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thanks. I will give them a call, but I think I will most likely go with an overflow box.
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Old 12-20-2004, 11:35 AM   #8
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Hey Rsquared333 - I am using an overflow on my 90G. It is also a bit louder when running than a pre-drilled. If I could do it all over again, I would get it pre-drilled. As loganj said, when the siphon breaks, you could overflow the tank depending how large the sump is, and/or burn the pump up running it dry. I haven't had it happen yet (knock on wood), but if there is a power outage, you will have to manually start the siphon. This is bad if you are out of town for a few days. Talk to the manuafacturer and see if it can be drilled. It only costs about $35-40 to drill it locally. HTH

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Old 12-20-2004, 03:01 PM   #9
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I called the service number and they didn't know wheather the back glass was tempered or not. does anyone know? Until I can find out I guess I will have to go with an overflow box. would a larger sump give me little more protection if the siphon breaks?
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Old 12-20-2004, 04:13 PM   #10
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The biggest problem I have seen is not necessarily having the power go out. My sump is large enough to hold the excess water. However, if the power comes back on before you get back, the pump will pump the entire contents of the sump into the main and that will certainly cause an overflow. That is my biggest concern and is the reason I am looking at shutting down my sump and just using my LR and skimmer for my filtration. HTH

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Old 12-20-2004, 04:41 PM   #11
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This is why many of us that have the overflow would have preferred to have it drilled instead now. It is the best method, so hopefully you can have it drilled. Good luck!

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Old 12-21-2004, 12:08 AM   #12
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It turns out that the entire tank is tempered glass so I can't drill a hole. The sump stories are a little discouraging should I go with one or just use the live rock and a protien skimmer?
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:02 AM   #13
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It turns out the entire bow front tank is tempered glass. It looks like I will have to go with an overflow box. what are the gph rates I should use for the siphon and return pump that would be ok for my 46 gal?
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:05 AM   #14
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could I just use the LR and a protien skimmer or would it be better to go with the sump/refugium?
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Old 12-22-2004, 09:26 AM   #15
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1.5-2lbs/gal of LR with a LS bed and a good skimmer will give you great bio-filtration (Berlin method, I think). Do not be too scared off by the idea of using an overflow box/sump setup. There are some things you can do greatly reduce the chance of wet carptet. I have heard of people drilling a hole in the U tube of the intake hose to the sump. This should be drilled just below the water line in your tank. In the event you loose electricity, the water level will fall exposing the hole you drilled. This should break the siphon and prevent water from running into your sump. One caution...make sure ther is enough extra room in your sump to handle the water that is in your plumbing and the water that will run into it until the siphon breaks. Make sense? Disclaimer...I have never actually used an external overflow, just go the info from the folks on this site. IMO, the benifits of a sump/fuge outweigh the risks...Lando
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:29 PM   #16
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What brand tank? E-mail them you may get a better answer thats what I did with perfecto and they got back to me fast.
I have both tanks drilled with bulk head fittings and this system is quick and easy to install. No issues and IMO just as good as the durso system. Can send pics if needed
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Old 12-23-2004, 03:20 AM   #17
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thanks a lot I will look into doing that. I guess I will go with the sump/refugium because I found a way to bypass the power shortage problem. I work at The Home Depot and was talking to a friend who works in electrical and he may have a way to make a backup for my plug just in case something happens.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:04 AM   #18
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Loss of siphon?

Why do you lose the siphon? All of the ones I've seen maintain sufficient water in both halves of the overflow box to maintain siphon even when the system isn't running.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:17 AM   #19
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You could always do a hang on skimmer and a CPR hang on aquafuge.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripper
The biggest problem I have seen is not necessarily having the power go out. My sump is large enough to hold the excess water. However, if the power comes back on before you get back, the pump will pump the entire contents of the sump into the main and that will certainly cause an overflow. That is my biggest concern and is the reason I am looking at shutting down my sump and just using my LR and skimmer for my filtration. HTH

tripper

I hear ya. This is my foremost concern with my tank. I can control everything else, but I can't control the power company.

There is (and I'm still looking into it) a power receptacle that needs to be reset if power is lost. So, if your power goes out, the siphon breaks and fills the sump. When power returns, the pump WILL NOT start until you reset it. Hook up a couple battery-powered air pumps and you're back in business.

I'm still trying to locate one of these elusive receptacles.
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