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  1. #1
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    New 120 Gal Tank set-up.

    Hello everybody,
    I am new to AC, and to the hobby. (Great site by the way, I have already been able to get a lot of valuble information here. Thnx.)
    I am setting up a new 120 Gal Salt water tank, unfortunately it will be a few months before I can actually put anything in the tank because I am finishing my basement and the tank is going to be built into a dividing wall. I thought that I would post this thread to see if I could get some feed back because I am at the point where I need to install the tank and sump and now would be a good time to find out if my plans so far seem to be ok.
    I have bought the tank wich measures 48" x 24" x 24" high, the frame for the tank stand is already built. It is made out of 2 x 4 pine (double pieces), a 1/2" thk ply wood top and 1" thk styrafoam for under the tank, should this stand be waterproofed?.The plan is that the tank will be viewed from 3 sides, both long sides and one end. Wich means all the plumbing and electrical has to be installed on the other hidden small end, could you please let me know if this may cause me any problems?. The tank is drilled in the bottom corner (hidden end) and an internal overflow is also installed in that corner, I intend to put a stand pipe in there. The tank will drain into a 60 Gal sump/refugium, this is not built yet, I have done quite a bit of research on this but would greatly appreciate any help in this area. If I use a protein skimmer and return pump outside of the sump, the sump will measure approx. 16"w x 28"lg x 24"h. If these 2 items go inside the sump I will gain another 10" approx on the sump length, wich is the better route?.
    I have a few more questions but realize this is already a bit long.....sorry.
    Thank you in advance for any comments you may have. Cheers!!!

  2. #2
    Moderator ShipWreck's Avatar
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    Welcome to AquariaCanada!

    Sounds like your off to a good start. For the stand I would definately take the time to coat the stand with a waterproof (outdoor rated) paint or stain. It is a low cost to help ensure the life of the stand, and especially the plywood.

    With your design to have 3 sides exposed it will be fine but you do have to take more time to think out all aspects.

    Will the tank have an enclosed hood or is it open topped? Hoods keep in heat but will hide the runs of pipes/wires, while open tops may need to have holes drilled in the bottom of the tank. You need to consider how you will design the closed loops, or hide powerheads, thinking that these normal flow the length of the tank. What type of lighting will you use and how will a pipe running across the top of the tank work with it (shadows, melting, access).

    For your sump question. Since you haven't built it yet, I would start be selecting the skimmer that you would like to use and base your design on it. In sump and external skimmers can both work well and there are many types, but you may find that your height or footprint will restrict some options.
    Rob
    -----
    Upgrade in the works! Keep looking for an update.


  3. #3
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    Hello ShipWreck,
    Thnx very much for getting back. I will paint the stand before I install the tank. Will I need any pipes or wires going to the "open end" of the tank, I was hoping all the pipes etc could enter the tank from the hidden end where I was planning on putting the bulk of LR to try and hide the return pipes and powerheads etc:-.
    The hood will be enclosed in the wall above the tank and if needed I will install an extractor fan for the heat. If I do need to run pipes through the hood maybe I could install them above the lights with a heat shield in between.?
    As for the type of lights I am more than a little confused. I am hoping to have corals in the tank so from what I have read I think I would need around 500 Watts, I was initially thinking of using MH bulbs but there seems to be better options out there..without the heat. What would you suggest?
    From reviews and what I have read on this sight it seems that the Octypus skimmer is a good choice.?
    Also one article that I read regarding refugiums....this fella had a section of his sump divided into two, one half sand and LR and the other Mud and grass. He went on to explain the benefits of this kind of set up....none of which I understood. Is this beneficial in your opinion.? Cheers!!!

  4. #4
    Moderator ShipWreck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bongobob View Post
    Hello ShipWreck,
    Thnx very much for getting back.
    We are all here to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bongobob View Post
    I will paint the stand before I install the tank. Will I need any pipes or wires going to the "open end" of the tank, I was hoping all the pipes etc could enter the tank from the hidden end where I was planning on putting the bulk of LR to try and hide the return pipes and powerheads etc:-.
    That will work. Just as long as you have thought out a plan to get flow to both ends of the tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bongobob View Post
    As for the type of lights I am more than a little confused. I am hoping to have corals in the tank so from what I have read I think I would need around 500 Watts, I was initially thinking of using MH bulbs but there seems to be better options out there..without the heat. What would you suggest?
    It is not so much about the amount of watts but they type of watts. For your 24" depth you could probably do 250w Metal halides, A quality T5HO set with 6-8 bulbs, or there are some very nice looking LED options available. I have used both MH and T5's and both work well, but I cannot personally comment on LED's as I have not tried these. The big drawback on the LED's is the initial cost for purchase, which you should see returned over time in electricity an bulb cost savings, however there is still limited long term experience with these as they have been evolving rapidly for only a couple of years.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bongobob View Post
    Also one article that I read regarding refugiums....this fella had a section of his sump divided into two, one half sand and LR and the other Mud and grass. He went on to explain the benefits of this kind of set up....none of which I understood. Is this beneficial in your opinion.? Chhers!!!
    Refugiums are definitely something I would suggest for any setup. One look into a functioning fuge and the amount/diversity of life that will live there is amazing. Also the chaeto algae that most grow here competes for the same nutrients that other nuisance algae's do, so being able to easly grow and remove these from the system is very beneficial.
    Rob
    -----
    Upgrade in the works! Keep looking for an update.


  5. #5
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    Your sump is going to be 16w x 28L x 24h? Is there are particular reason for such a deep sump? Perhaps a limitation of space. But I'd want less height with as much width and length as possible, providing there's still enough height to take on all excess water from a power outage. It just makes it easier to access your equipment, and provides you with the most room to install future equipment.

    I have the same tank. If you were to go with MH instead of LED or T5's (which I can't comment on since I've used neither), you'd want 2x250 for sure. Mine is 2x250 watts MH, with 192 watts of PC actinics, which nowadays is almost always t5 for the actinics instead of PC's. I could grow anything in my tank.
    120g AGA~145 lbs Haitian LR~DA Reef Keeper 2 Controller~Dual 14k 250 DE MH's~Dual Overflows~Dual 250w Jager Heaters~Dual 96W Actinics~30g Sump/Refugium~Mag 12 Return~140 lbs Reefgrade Caribsea Aragonite~BubbleKing 180 Skimmer~Phosban Reactor~GEO Kalk Reactor~Powerheads:MP40w/Seio 820/modified Powersweep 270 with Hydor rotating deflector~Digital lighting timer for moon/fuge lighting~7 stage RODI filtration~Quarantine: modified 12.5g Marineland Eclipse

  6. #6
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    Here's my opinion: (FWIW)

    I am not sure where you are, but go to a few Live Fish Stores and see what their setup is like . There is no definative way to do things and each system has pros and cons. I have double ended MH lighting because I like the shimmer of the lights on the water. The cost is a bit more electricity and heat. I put my filtration in the cool basement and don't put ALL my lights on for very long (timers that phase each light on and off). My water fan rarely comes on and I am able to maintain 26 degrees in the winter and 27 in the summer.

    So far, your plans sounds great. Just make sure that you leave room for some changes- because you'll probably tweak things as you go.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porcupinepuffer View Post
    Your sump is going to be 16w x 28L x 24h? Is there are particular reason for such a deep sump? Perhaps a limitation of space. But I'd want less height with as much width and length as possible, providing there's still enough height to take on all excess water from a power outage. It just makes it easier to access your equipment, and provides you with the most room to install future equipment.

    I have the same tank. If you were to go with MH instead of LED or T5's (which I can't comment on since I've used neither), you'd want 2x250 for sure. Mine is 2x250 watts MH, with 192 watts of PC actinics, which nowadays is almost always t5 for the actinics instead of PC's. I could grow anything in my tank.
    Thnx. for your reply. Regarding the sump:-I am limited to the 16" width, if I put the skimmer and return pump in the sump my length can go up to 38". I have lots of headroom, so what do you think would be a good height. Do you run a sump with a refugium in it, and if so do you have sand or mud in there.
    I think I am going to go with the MH lights, everything else I've been looking at is just getting me confused. Are t5 bulbs the tube type that are kinda blue, and are these the ones that can be left on for night viewing.
    Thank you again for your help.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarket View Post
    Here's my opinion: (FWIW)

    I am not sure where you are, but go to a few Live Fish Stores and see what their setup is like . There is no definative way to do things and each system has pros and cons. I have double ended MH lighting because I like the shimmer of the lights on the water. The cost is a bit more electricity and heat. I put my filtration in the cool basement and don't put ALL my lights on for very long (timers that phase each light on and off). My water fan rarely comes on and I am able to maintain 26 degrees in the winter and 27 in the summer.

    So far, your plans sounds great. Just make sure that you leave room for some changes- because you'll probably tweak things as you go.
    Thnx. for getting back. I will check out some stores and take a look at double ended MH, I dont think I have seen these before. Do you run a sump and refugium...what do you have in there?. I am beginning to see that it would have been better to have had a few years of reef keeping experience before attempting this first project, because of the tank being built into the wall makes things more difficult. I was initially going to make it a fresh water aquarium, which I have done for quite a few years, but I am just amazed with the looks and interesting aspects of a good salt water tank. Thnx again.

  9. #9
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    Most ppl start with fresh water and then move to salt. 120 gal is a big step, but as you know, parameters change slower in a big tank- so that is a good thing starting out.
    Lighting is important, but water is more important IMHO. Good/proper flow, filtration, temp. and chemistry make happy tank inhabitants. We have sunny days and cloudy days but the sea water's parameters are relatively stable.

    In my 180 tank I have water moving from 8 different ports (4 powerheads and 4 "ocean motion" returns). Not lots of pressure but lots of flow. The two system are not in synch so the flow is always random. My fish and coral seem to like it that way.

    I don't that you are going to setup your tank and never change its configuration, so when you build make sure that you can work on it. I don't know how many times I have rearranged my rocks or had to reach into the tank for some reason. I am always thinking of how to tweak the tank somehow.

    P.S Send pics of your setup when you can

  10. #10
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    Here are a couple of pictures (i hope). Not a great deal to see but they will give you an idea of what I am doing. Thnx for the help.

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