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40g (Aug 2011-Sept 2012)

Sept 6th, 2011

 Our 40 Gallon Breeder fish tank! 36″L x 18″D x 16″T. These are the inhabitants that survived the move up to Seattle! You can read about the drama on my Tank Build post.  As you can see I decided to place the overflow box in the center of the tank, with the sump return pipes in the corners. This ensured maximum flow from the Rio 3200 @ 900+ gal/hr. Below are pics of the sump and cabinet setup:

An Idea I got from a LFS in San Francisco, I always thought storage containers would make for a good sump! And in my case, using multiple storage containers within each other, to create baffles, would make for a good sump.

To follow the flow from the overflow box, the corrugated pipe, dumps the tank water into the first container. In order to muffle the flow sound, splash, and reduce air bubbles, I used bio balls. You may be able to see that the water level in this first container is only the bottom 1-2 inches. So I’m hoping I don’t need to clean these bios balls often! LOL In this container I drilled about a dozen dime sized holes in the bottom. So the flow goes down into the second storage container. You can see this second white container underneath the container with the bio balls. This area I have left empty, still debating on what to put here, accessibility is the main deterrent to putting something here. I’m assuming this is where majority of the detritus will build up, I’m hoping! This second container has about a dozen dime sized holes drilled in the right side of the container. So flow then goes into the large container you see. Here I have the skimmer, phosban reactor, calcium reactor effluent overflow cup, and at the moment an additional bag of carbon. From here the return pump runs the water back up to the tank.

The strength of the storage containers, you may be questioning? Well, I tested if the power went out and the extra load of water did not make the storage container bulge. The water would come up about 3/4 the way up. I think, if it did bulge, the frame of the cabinet restrains the container from bulging noticeably.

Because the skimmer is hanging from the first storage container, suspended off the bottom of the large storage container, when the skimmer is full of water the weight of it pulling on the side of the first storage container, that is empty of water, the warping/bulging of the first container is very noticeable and the skimmer would hang at almost a 45 degree angle! To resolve this I placed a piece of Rio 3/4″ plastic pipe between the base of the skimmer and the storage container. The skimmer angle then was reduced to about 5%, barely noticeable, noticeable only if you look at the waterline within the skimmer. However, I am not confident the storage container will be able to hold shape, and I do plan on creating an independent stand to go within the large container to hold up the skimmer. In this case I’m thinking to use Legos for the stand.

Because the flow is going from the first to second, then into the large container, the flow is strong enough to push the second container out from under the first container! To resolve this I really had to make sure the beveling on the first container was within the top lip of the second container. This bevel hold is strong enough to prevent the second container from pushing free. Again, I am still debating, not only if this second container is needed at all, or what to put in this second container.

And lastly, a refugio. I want to create one, and use the outflow from the phosban reactor to supply the water, but am undecided where and how to implement. One thought I’ve had is to just add another storage container as the refugio, and over flow into the large container. In this case height becomes and issue because a clip on light will also have to fit within the space! However, I am also undecided if I want to include mangrove plants and cheato, or to use only cheato. If I decide to use mangrove and cheato, I was also tossing around the idea to just setup and external planter next to the fish tank, plumping the water to the planter and back to the sump, but the wife may have some input with this option 😉 So at the moment, the additional storage container may be the choice.

As you can also see from the photo, I managed to hang the light from book shelf frames! There is a frame support running horizontally across the back of the tank, which locks into the two vertical book shelf frames, all three of which are wood screwed into the cabinet. Then, as you can see, the light is zip tied 3 times to the book shelf supports. And because the book shelf supports are adjustable on the book shelf frame, the light is height adjustable!!! …the best solution!!! …I was initially worried the zip ties may melt from the heat of the metal halide, but a quick google search, I found out the melting point of nylon zip ties is 185 degrees! I doubt the metal halide is getting that hot!

Sept 18th, 2011

Two weeks now, and everything has been running well! The fish health has returned to normal, hungry as ever! I have also added two more large live rock pieces. And this past weekend have purchased the first corals for the tank!

Oct 7th, 2011

Installation of a closed loop, purchase of a Powder Brown Tang, Yellow and Purple Wrasse, Red Bubble Tip Anemone, and Zoas!

Dec 30th, 2011

Blue Tang, Magnificent Foxface, Gold Bar Maroon Clown, Yellow Wrasse, Mandarin Dragonet, Rose Bubble Tip Anemone, and various acropora, and soft corals.

Feb 6th, 2012

On January 15th, 2012 Seattle was hit with a very large snow storm that lasted the entire week! You can read more details about it in my post named, “Snow!“. As the months past the stability of the tank wavered, but then stabilized again. The tank took on a life of it’s own. As you can read from my posts, not much was happening with the tank, which meant stability.

Sept 3rd, 2012 our much loved 40 Gal tank had ended it’s lifespan. I found a great deal on a 120 Gal tank, and jumped on it! Thank you everyone for following the 40 Gal story…now on to our 120 Gallon tank!!!