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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello:

I am upgrading my setup from a 90 gallon to a 180 gallon. Current tank is haps/peacocks with several sydontis. Unfortunately, I don't have space to run them concurrently for any period of time. Both tanks are drilled with sumps. I was wondering if you guys could help me out with a few questions:

1. What is the safest way to make it fish ready utilizing the existing materials (bio-balls, matrix, rocks, substrate, tank water,etc.)? Is it possible to do this and move my fish straight in?
2. I was going to use several 5 gallon buckets with air stones in them while we did our best to break down and set up the new tank. Is this too ambitious? This is the first time I've ever upgraded my tank since I've started in the hobby.
3. The tank I am buying was setup as a reef tank. I was wondering how you would set up the sump (pic below - sorry, it's the only one I have until I pick it up this weekend). This is a different configuration than my current sump, so I was looking for some ideas.



Thank you!

Brian
 

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If you move the same fish from one tank to the other, you can do this in one day. Just move the filter media over as well and everything should be fine.

Buckets are a bit small. I would buy some cheap plastic totes from Walmart or some such place. They give you more space to store stuff and also house the fish for as long as it takes. Get a cheap air pump if you don't have one, and put some airstones in the tote(s) with the fish. If you have any plants, especially Java Moss, put it in the totes with the fish. It helps them a lot.

There is no point in transferring water from one tank to the other. BBs are on surfaces - filter media, rocks, and substrate. The more you can transfer over the better. Use new water, just make sure to dechlorinate it and get it to the right temperature.

That sump looks good. Since you have it anyhow, why not use it! For what it's worth, my preferred filter medium is Poret filter foam. I would put a large sheet of the thickest, coarsest foam in the middle of the sump like a tank divider. That should filter a 180G easily. All the other media would be icing on the cake. :D

A 180G is a great size to have. Enjoy!
 

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This sump setup looks just like the one in my 450gal. The pipes with the 'U' at the top are the intakes and go in your overflows, and the pipes with the black spout ends are your returns and also fit in your overflows.

1. Install the intake & return pipes securely in your overflows. I never use teflon tape, just hand-tighten then 1/16 or less turn with a wrench.
2. Connect the grey hoses to your intakes and the other ends to the top of the sump.
3. Connect the clear hoses to your returns and the other ends to your pump.
4. Fill with water.

I'd strongly advise you set this tank up and run for at least a day. With both my 180gal and my 450gal setups there were some leaks at the bulkheads that I had to rectify. Make sure everything is running, with no leaks, before doing your changeover.
 

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That's good advice by ken31cayman. A canister filter you can hook up and expect it to run perfectly right away. Once you have bulkheads, there is a very high chance you initially have issues that need to be ironed out.
 

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Be sure to keep everything wet during the changeover.

Questions - How many drains does the 180g have? What size(s) are they? Center overflow or corner(s)?
If only one drain you may want to look into adding one more. I personally won't run with a single drain to a sump. The flood risk is just to high for me. Also with two you can setup a Herbie drain which is quiet to silent and flows an incredible amount of water (I tested mine to over 2000 GPH with a single 1-1/4" drain using the second as an emergency drain)

As for laying out the sump - sell the skimmer unless you plan a marine tank in your future. You can't use it for freshwater. It won't work. If you have loose media (bio-balls, Matrix, etc.) you can place it in the bottom of the middle chamber either loose or in media bags. The sump looks setup for socks which people either love or hate. I like 'em if I buy a bunch (8-10 or more). Then I can change them out easily and wash a big load (standard laundry washer) when the supply of clean socks gets low. Full empty load first , hot, no soap (maybe bleach) to clear the washer then add the socks - full load,heavy duty, hot, no soap with 1-2 cap fulls of pure plain bleach (no frills, perfumes, additives, nothing - just pure chlorine bleach). You can run an extra rinse if you like. Then air dry for at least 48 hrs to get rid of any residual chlorine.

GCG
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
fmueller said:
If you move the same fish from one tank to the other, you can do this in one day. Just move the filter media over as well and everything should be fine.

Buckets are a bit small. I would buy some cheap plastic totes from Walmart or some such place. They give you more space to store stuff and also house the fish for as long as it takes. Get a cheap air pump if you don't have one, and put some airstones in the tote(s) with the fish. If you have any plants, especially Java Moss, put it in the totes with the fish. It helps them a lot.

There is no point in transferring water from one tank to the other. BBs are on surfaces - filter media, rocks, and substrate. The more you can transfer over the better. Use new water, just make sure to dechlorinate it and get it to the right temperature.

That sump looks good. Since you have it anyhow, why not use it! For what it's worth, my preferred filter medium is Poret filter foam. I would put a large sheet of the thickest, coarsest foam in the middle of the sump like a tank divider. That should filter a 180G easily. All the other media would be icing on the cake. :D

A 180G is a great size to have. Enjoy!
Thank you. The totes are a fantastic sugestion. I will go buy a couple of new ones. I'll use the existing media, sand, rocks, etc. with new water and treat with Prime before adding the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ken31cayman said:
This sump setup looks just like the one in my 450gal. The pipes with the 'U' at the top are the intakes and go in your overflows, and the pipes with the black spout ends are your returns and also fit in your overflows.

1. Install the intake & return pipes securely in your overflows. I never use teflon tape, just hand-tighten then 1/16 or less turn with a wrench.
2. Connect the grey hoses to your intakes and the other ends to the top of the sump.
3. Connect the clear hoses to your returns and the other ends to your pump.
4. Fill with water.

I'd strongly advise you set this tank up and run for at least a day. With both my 180gal and my 450gal setups there were some leaks at the bulkheads that I had to rectify. Make sure everything is running, with no leaks, before doing your changeover.
Thank you. I'll see what I can do. The problem is the 180 is going exactly where my 90 is now. I'll have to get creative with seeing if I can move the 90...which won't be easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
GulfCoastGuy said:
Be sure to keep everything wet during the changeover.

Questions - How many drains does the 180g have? What size(s) are they? Center overflow or corner(s)?
If only one drain you may want to look into adding one more. I personally won't run with a single drain to a sump. The flood risk is just to high for me. Also with two you can setup a Herbie drain which is quiet to silent and flows an incredible amount of water (I tested mine to over 2000 GPH with a single 1-1/4" drain using the second as an emergency drain)

As for laying out the sump - sell the skimmer unless you plan a marine tank in your future. You can't use it for freshwater. It won't work. If you have loose media (bio-balls, Matrix, etc.) you can place it in the bottom of the middle chamber either loose or in media bags. The sump looks setup for socks which people either love or hate. I like 'em if I buy a bunch (8-10 or more). Then I can change them out easily and wash a big load (standard laundry washer) when the supply of clean socks gets low. Full empty load first , hot, no soap (maybe bleach) to clear the washer then add the socks - full load,heavy duty, hot, no soap with 1-2 cap fulls of pure plain bleach (no frills, perfumes, additives, nothing - just pure chlorine bleach). You can run an extra rinse if you like. Then air dry for at least 48 hrs to get rid of any residual chlorine.

GCG
The guy I am buying it from is going to keep the skimmer and give me $100 off the tank, so score. It is an Aqueon tank with 2 megaflow drains. They aren't corner drains, but are off centered. I do have existing bio balls. I modified my current sump to drain through filter media onto a drip plate and over the bio balls. I have read where bio balls shouldn't be completely submerged. Is that true? I also have some matrix in the sump as well that I was going to transfer over. I also have a good sized sponge that I was going to at least put in the sump somewhere loose to help establish the tank. I think I want to keep the socks this time, but then I wouldn't be able to trickle over the bio balls (they would be submerged). Could I put a piece of foam in that narrow chamber by where the pumps go? Thanks for all of the suggestions and help everyone! I'm excited to get this new setup going, but nervous because my 90 runs perfectly.
 

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Trickling water over bio media is all about one thing - oxygenating the water so the bacteria has enough to do its job. Being submerged won't mater. Sumps (especially sumps with a lots of baffles) will keep the water well oxygenated as the water cascades. Reefers never do the trickle thing because of the issue with salt creep. All their bio media stays fully submerged.

The Matrix will out perform the bio-balls by an enormous margin. The specific surface area of Matrix is some of the highest in the hobby. I have 8L going in my new tank. I crunched the numbers and after accounting for the extra small pores that aren't bio-beneficial that gives me a specific surface area about the size of 1.5 US football fields including end zones. I'm using extra in hopes of establishing anaerobic zones for de-nitrification. 82,500 sq ft makes a home for a bunch of bacteria.

Add the sponge if you like but if the Matrix is from an established mature tank it should be enough to start up the new tank. You may not even go through a mini-cycle. Test anyway (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate ... you know the drill) just to be safe.

I know the tank overflow configuration you're talking about, one drain and one return in each overflow box. This makes a Herbie a tough job and tricky to tune. Here is the best tutorial I know of for a Herbie drain and his thoughts on your setup in particular.

http://gmacreef.com/herbie-overflow-reef-tank-plumbing-method-basics/

http://gmacreef.com/herbie-dual-overflows/
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
GulfCoastGuy said:
Trickling water over bio media is all about one thing - oxygenating the water so the bacteria has enough to do its job. Being submerged won't mater. Sumps (especially sumps with a lots of baffles) will keep the water well oxygenated as the water cascades. Reefers never do the trickle thing because of the issue with salt creep. All their bio media stays fully submerged.

The Matrix will out perform the bio-balls by an enormous margin. The specific surface area of Matrix is some of the highest in the hobby. I have 8L going in my new tank. I crunched the numbers and after accounting for the extra small pores that aren't bio-beneficial that gives me a specific surface area about the size of 1.5 US football fields including end zones. I'm using extra in hopes of establishing anaerobic zones for de-nitrification. 82,500 sq ft makes a home for a bunch of bacteria.

Add the sponge if you like but if the Matrix is from an established mature tank it should be enough to start up the new tank. You may not even go through a mini-cycle. Test anyway (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate ... you know the drill) just to be safe.

I know the tank overflow configuration you're talking about, one drain and one return in each overflow box. This makes a Herbie a tough job and tricky to tune. Here is the best tutorial I know of for a Herbie drain and his thoughts on your setup in particular.

http://gmacreef.com/herbie-overflow-reef-tank-plumbing-method-basics/
http://gmacreef.com/herbie-dual-overflows/
Thank you for all of the great information. I have 1L of Matrix in my current tank, and almost a 5 gallon bucket full of bio balls. I'll buy a couple more liters of matrix/bags and phase out the balls. Do you use Purigen? I do in the old tank, but would need much more obviously for the new one. You are correct about the tank configuration. It's the same as I have in the 90 gallon (only it has a single megaflow box). It gurgles a bit, but I put insulation Styrofoam-type board around the side walls/doors of the stand and it made a big difference with the sound.
 

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I don't use Purigen. I have in the past but I moved on to planted tanks and it messed up my NO3 dosing.

You have an opportunity to use Option 2 of the Herbie for dual overflows method. My new tank (141g) runs almost silently at roughly 7x turnover with one. As I recall the Aqueon over flows are plastic and black. A little work and you could install the balance pipe and be set. If installed low in the tank, painted to blend, and hidden in it could work. The only departure from intended operation would be an over the rim return.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
GulfCoastGuy said:
I don't use Purigen. I have in the past but I moved on to planted tanks and it messed up my NO3 dosing.

You have an opportunity to use Option 2 of the Herbie for dual overflows method. My new tank (141g) runs almost silently at roughly 7x turnover with one. As I recall the Aqueon over flows are plastic and black. A little work and you could install the balance pipe and be set. If installed low in the tank, painted to blend, and hidden in it could work. The only departure from intended operation would be an over the rim return.
So it would be something like in this video here? I have 2 pumps, so would I need to join the return pipe?

 

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briang8r said:
ken31cayman said:
This sump setup looks just like the one in my 450gal. The pipes with the 'U' at the top are the intakes and go in your overflows, and the pipes with the black spout ends are your returns and also fit in your overflows.

1. Install the intake & return pipes securely in your overflows. I never use teflon tape, just hand-tighten then 1/16 or less turn with a wrench.
2. Connect the grey hoses to your intakes and the other ends to the top of the sump.
3. Connect the clear hoses to your returns and the other ends to your pump.
4. Fill with water.

I'd strongly advise you set this tank up and run for at least a day. With both my 180gal and my 450gal setups there were some leaks at the bulkheads that I had to rectify. Make sure everything is running, with no leaks, before doing your changeover.
Thank you. I'll see what I can do. The problem is the 180 is going exactly where my 90 is now. I'll have to get creative with seeing if I can move the 90...which won't be easy.
When you have it in hand and can see everything, the steps I wrote should be pretty clear I think. Make sure and clean everything, including the bottom of the overflows. When you install the pipes in the overflows you want the bulkheads to have nice, clean contact with the overflow glass/acrylic bottom.

Regarding the 180gal going in the same place: the best solution in my opinion is to empty the 90gal down to a couple of inches, then push or move it out of the way a distance, fill it back up and run it normally until your 180gal is confirmed setup & working properly. This is basically what I did with my 180gal when I received the 450gal. Then afterward my wife said it was ok to keep both:) Good luck.
 

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I watched it on my phone.

Yup - Just one point.

Using the larger pipe as the full siphon is a No-No. The "Open Channel" is an emergency drain and should not have more than seeping flow during normal operation. (some say none).

The emergency drain MUST be able to take ALL of the flow if the full siphon is blocked for any reason. I know he showed that his tank could take every thing that his return pump chamber could hold but that doesn't take into account the volume IF the baffle to the return pump chamber is somehow compromised and leaks.

...But did you notice how quiet it was? Beautiful. Gotta love a Herbie Overflow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
GulfCoastGuy said:
Here's a link to the White Paper on Matrix's Specific Surface Area vs. a couple of other popular (at the time) bio-media.

https://www.seachem.com/downloads/articles/Specific-Surface.pdf
Wow, that's interesting. Seems like Matrix is the way to go. I found a decent deal on the 4L size. Would 5L total be enough for 180 gallons in your opinion? Their site says to use 250ml per 50 gallons, which would indicate that the 1L I have is enough, but that doesn't seem right.
 

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Don't forget the manufacturer is providing that article. Inexpensive biomedia like pot scrubbers are extremely effective and many times more surface area than needed to support an overstocked tank.
 
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