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Old 06-08-2017, 02:19 PM   #1
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DIY HOB sump/refugium?

So I got some 1/4" acrylic from offline (offerup). A 4x8 sheet. I needed half for a window pane repair and then the other half is left over so Ive decided to try building a sit behind DIY sump/refug.
I ordered my weld on 4 AND 16.
I am grabbing a toothy blade soon. I read something with about 80 teeth carbide should do it (on my standard ryobi table saw). Im not in it for looks to be honest so super clean edges dont concern me more than water tight.

I was going to put my heater and skimmer in it.
It will be 23" h x 15" w x 5" d
I will do some extra bracing within and on top.

I plan on maybe throwing some BIO balls in there instead of rock and sand and then maybe some cheato. I will use a small pump to pull water and just let it overflow back into the tank.

My question is about baffling? Is it necessary? Im not building a skimmer in it but just plopping my tunze 9400 in there and maybe even my smaller nano aquatic life 115 as well. Ive read the baffles are just to stop the bubbles from getting back into the display tank. I dont really have a huge problem with that but are there any other reasons to baffle? Does it help keep some water in the skimmer chamber to help be sure the water is being properly skimmed before it moves on?
Can baffling cause water to obstruct itself and overflow a chamber if the pull is greater than the opening the baffle will allow.

Thanks all.

Trying to replicate something like this. I plan on installing a valve on the lower portion as well so I can do easy water changes.

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Old 06-09-2017, 10:37 AM   #2
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If this is gonna sit on the floor, then I would say baffling is recommended. There will be bubbles from the falling water which could make it into your display. It will also allow you to use an ATO more easily in the chamber with the pump to return it to the tank. The baffling of refugiums is there to control the height of the water in the fuge and to keep micro bubbles out of the display

If this is gonna HOB, then I would do a small box with slats in it to keep macro algae from flowing out, and one small baffle on the inlet.

Also, skip the bio balls. Use the space for either live rock rubble or more growing room for macros. Bio balls are useless in a reef tank assuming you have a reasonable amount of live rock in the tank.
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:56 AM   #3
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my tank has a ton of live rock in it. Ive read bio balls are just as good as live rock in a fuge and I figured it would lessen the chance of a rock putting stress on the plexi and eventually wearing a spot or cracking it.

An auto top off wont be use and controlling the water height isnt really an issue since siphoning wont happen because both the tank and fuge will be at the same level. If it did happen tho, GREAT, it means I could turn off the pump and save power since it will overflow back into the tank. I planned on putting something as a catch on the return to hold some floss or possibly activated carbon padding. I actually thought by doing this plus bio balls it would break down most of the bubbles anyway.

I just wanted to know since once the last wall is on I probably wont be able to get my arm in the to install them (well maybe, I always find a way). Im more worried that baffling the skimmer chamber has a chance to cause overflow in that chamber. Is that a possibility? Though again, the thought of baffling the skimmer chamber also makes me feel the water coming in would get a better skim than not doing it.
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:32 PM   #4
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Live rock is good because of all the surface area it has, both on the surface and deep within its structure. The deep pores create oxygen poor areas forcing bacteria to consume nitrate to survive. Bio balls dont create this oxygen deprived area so its nowhere near as good as live rock, you would be better served having more growing room for macro algae. The bio balls will only handle conversion of ammonia into nitrates, no further than that but your live rock already handles that so its wasted space.

The only way the sump could overflow from the baffles is if you run them all the way to the top of the sump. Just leave 1 inch of space from the top of the highest baffle to the top of the rim of the sump and you will be fine.
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:19 PM   #5
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so if I was to baffle it would I treat them the same as any other even though Im using an internal surface mount skimmer?

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