Glass tops... waste of money IMO
. Either go topless, or go to a local hardware store and ask for scraps of plexi. Most likely for free, they can easily be cut with a jigsaw and matched to size. Other than that, I would have to agree with Lando.
How tall is your canopy? I heard a few LFS
won't do well unless the canopy is 12 inches tall and fans are installed (can overheat). Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Don't know about the skimmer... but don't "skimp" with it. If I had the few extra bucks for a better one, I would take it in a heartbeat.
Well, the sump/refugium depends on how much room you have under your stand. Does it have a center brace in between the two cabinet doors? Anyway you can post a pic or link to product? You could technically fit something just under 40 inches long and 16 inches deep underneath, but with the vertical supports and how they're arranged, it might be hard to fit a unit in.
Try this... take a firm piece of cardboard and start to play with some measurements. If the base is 48X18 then try cutting a cardboard rectangle that's 4
14 and see if you can get it to fit underneath WITHOUT having to tilt it over (the real thing will have water in it if you ever need to take it out, and you don't want to have to tilt a diy
/store bought unit). Keep nibbling away until you get it to fit with at least an inch or two to spare (accounting for your equipment) ... and you have your max. size of sump.
If you are good with your hands, I would HIGHLY suggest you build your own sump/refugium. They can easily get up to $400 if you're not careful. My 60E is about the size of your 75 (add extra height, and maybe some depth) ... I'm going with a 20Long tank for my sump. 3
12X12... $3 at a yardsale, and $15 total for 5 pieces of 12X10inch glass cut at a local glass shop... under $20 for a sump... nice!
Glass-on-glass insures a tight bond, but you can also easily go with glass-to-acrylic, just make sure to use a ton of 100% silicone sealer and be ready to reseal if the baffle gets knocked over. Add in an overflow box for $50-60 on ebay (or make one from 2 Lee's specimen boxes... I found an auction for 2 new overflow boxes for $20... nice
), some tubing from HD
, a u-tube return from www.marinedepot.com
(or others) and a return pump (mag 7 or 9.5, depending on how many GPH
the overflow box can handle). Remember that the pump should pump LESS than the overflow box rate after accounting for head height, and how many 90 degree joints you put in to the return (1 90 degree joint adds an extra foot to head pressure, i think).
Still have to buy a return pump though, so add in another $50-70. 8O And if you take out the bioballs, you're basically left with a $260++ box of acrylic that offers little options. Here are a couple examples of how to arrange the baffles, but in the end it's up to you.
[pics courtesy of sumphead]
Hope this helps! ... sorry for the novel.