Tank design

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Aug 26, 2005
San Antonio, TX
I have a FOWLR tank, but I'll be delving into a reef tank for the first time. I have a specific space I want the tank to occupy, so it'll be a custom build... both sides of the tank are surrounded by walls, but the front and back will both be visible (hence the side Calflo).

Since it's my first reef tank, I'm not sure if I'm planning things right. Here's my current diagram:



The top pump in the Side View is a closed loop to provide circulation.

I didn't draw in the RO/DI or auto-topoff system, but it would be placed elsewhere and the plumbing and electric would come in through the wall, similar to the chiller.

Here are some questions I have:
  • Should the size or positions of the bulkhead be changed?
  • Should I add more bulkheads? Would there be any downside to that?
  • I just thought of this now: The electrical outlets are on the bottom, and there's no good way to run the wires from the bottom to the top for the lights. Should I somehow create a path that the wires could travel up through the tank, perhaps in the overflow? Or is it better to just drill into and out of the drywall and put the wires through there?
Anybody? I'll be ordering the tank this week but would like to get some second opinions first... I'm kind of afraid to order a tank when I'm a newbie without having someone peer review it.
I'll take a stab at this...
I question the use of two sump drains on the same side of the tank. I would think you would be better served with an overflow and sump drain on each side of the tank.
I do not see the sump returns (B) anywhere on the diagram.
Have you checked on using a single 1.5" drain to feed 4 x 1" returns on your closed loop? Would be better off with a larger drain or smaller returns?

As for the electrical, don't think twice about it. Go through the wall and out the drywall.

It does help, thanks! The idea behind the two sump drains is that if one fails or somehow clogs, the other could still handle the duty. The chances of that are probably 1 in a million, but better safe than sorry. Unfortunately, I can't put an overflow / sump drain on the side of the tank because of the walls. The tank will be placed between two columns, and there's no room on the sides of the tank.

I'll look more into the 1.5" drain feeding the 1" returns... I copied that from the design of somebody else, but I shouldn't just assume that would work.

You've settled the electric... through the drywall it is!

Thanks for your help! Any input from others is still extremely welcome. :)
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