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TimDanger's CADlights 39g Pro


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#1
timdanger

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My new Cad 39g Pro arrived yesterday omgomgomg -- spent most of the evening putting it together/figuring out the plumbing so I could leak-test it. filled with fresh water, and, no leaks! B)

On the downside, I thought everything got to me in good working order, but I unfortunately found a small crack at the top of the sump. :tears: Ironic that the sump would've cracked in transit but not the tank! So, I called Eddie at Cadlights up and he said he'd take care of it.


Other initial impressions:

1. the light fixture is pretty awesome-looking. B) the moon LED lights create very nice effects in the dark, though you need to decide in advance if you like the intensity of the "spotlight" moon LEDs - they definitely aren't your typical tiny moon LEDs from a biocube. I personally think they add something to the aquarium setting, but I could also see someone not liking them. the metal halide is nice, and the actinics are very, VERY blue - should result in some good fluorescence. the LEDs, incidentally, add some good fluorescence, too. my only question is, if one of my cats jumps on the thing, are the plastic tank-mount legs going to hold the weight of the cat and the light? I would think so -- they seem sturdy enough -- but, I am not 100% certain. I guess I always have the option of using the included ceiling-mount kit. regarding fan noise from the fixture, i didn't even notice it -- doesn't mean there wasn't any, but i don't remember hearing it -- that's gotta be a good sign, right?

2. The glass is also pretty great. very thick, heavy glass. awesome. my biggest concern going in was the "bowfront" curve of the glass, but looking at it in person, it is a modest, gentle curve -- very little distortion, so I was happy to see that. my concerns about the curved glass was one of the main reasons I was thinking of getting a Solana instead. But, I am happy to say that this will suit me just fine! If you are someone who is having doubts about this tank due to the curved glass, I would definitely say that I'm not noticing a lot of distortion from most viewing angles, and it's actually a very clean, seamless look. :D

3. for some reason, there are no instructions in the package. <_< not that big of a deal for a typical freshwater tank, but for a tank where you have to construct the cabinet and then plumb together a bunch of parts, it was a bit of a pain. having said that, i'd never "wired" a sump before, so... take that for what it's worth. I found a thread on reefcentral about the tank that I used as my "manual" for both the plumbing and the stand. it worked out pretty well for me. the lesson here: this is a very neat tank for a very reasonable price, but I feel like you have to have a fair amount of DIY-ishness in you to get it going. e.g., I had to cut several of the tubes that came with the tank to get things to fit correctly, etc.

4. the stand is very nice. feels very sturdy. i currently have it on hardwood, but it will ultimately be on a carpeted floor (at least, that's the plan for now.... see #5).

5. this thing is making a lot of noise so far. <_< i'm getting some pretty intense rushing water/gurgling from the drain pipe (i'm still working on this issue -- this is almost certainly fixable), i'm getting noise from the overflow, i'm getting noise from the pump/skimmer. the most surprising thing for me, though, was the amount of noise i'm getting from the included fan (they have gone back to using the single fan because they say it moves about 30% more air -- Eddie did say he would switch it out for the older double-fans if I wanted to, which run quieter but don't move as much air). the noise is much less with the cabinet doors closed, but this is definitely something i'm going to need to work on. i'm hoping i don't need to change out the pump. that is money i'd rather not spend.

6. they are no longer shipping these with the glass top. not the end of the world, but I thought that the tank came with this. eddie says that no one used it, and it was more designed for the Signature model anyway, size-wise. truthfully, though, you can always just go get a piece of glass cut if you really want it. i'm worried about heat/evaporation already anyway, so i'm not sure closing the thing with glass is exactly what i want to do.

7. the skimmer... let me preface this by saying i've never had a skimmer before, but i'm pretty sure what it's doing is not what it's supposed to be doing. :unsure: first, the skimmer assembly, once you include the drain pipe, doesn't quite fit into the compartment (it's too short), so it ends up being kind of tilted. i might need to prop it up a little bit. but, i'm concerned about elevating it too much. as a side note, does anyone know how high the water should come up into the skimmer's cup? i'm trying to figure out where i need to adjust the valve to make it skim correctly. I'm sure this will all be fine, I probably just need to spend a little more time on it. also, there is only fresh water in the tank, so i'm not sure if that prevents the skimmer from doing anything anyway. also, anyone know which of the nipples on the silencer is supposed to connect to the skimmer's tube? does it matter?

Overall, I'm very excited about this system and I am looking forward to really getting into it in the next few days. We'll see how the budget shakes out this week...!

COMING SOON: SETUP PICTURES AND AQUASCAPING. Stay tuned.

Edited by timdanger, 01 July 2010 - 10:58 AM.


#2
mkregs

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I feel your pain. I had many of the same issues with my 39 pro as you are having.

You can check out the forums on CADLights website to find what some have done to solve the issues you speak of. I have a thread on there that speaks to some of the noise issues.

Also, feel free to read through my thread which will give you some pointers as well.

#3
rizakaniza

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Welcome to the Club! :D

You may want to try sticking some airline tube in the durso hole and adjusting it until the gurgling goes away. ;) I am excited to see some pics!
Rizakaniza's 39G Cadlights Pro

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#4
awbowden

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I just raised up my durso pipe today and it greatly reduces/ elimates the 'waterfall' noise from the overflow. Also putting an airline in the top cap, as mentioned above, helps the gurgling noise.

You mentioned that the fans for your halide are quiet or not noticeable...could you post back if they are or not? The reason I ask is that mines are pretty loud and wondering if this is normal or what.

I'm not sure why your skimmer drain does not reach back into the other half of the 1st chamber. Mine does, without any tilting.

Good Luck.

#5
rizakaniza

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I just raised up my durso pipe today and it greatly reduces/ elimates the 'waterfall' noise from the overflow. Also putting an airline in the top cap, as mentioned above, helps the gurgling noise.

You mentioned that the fans for your halide are quiet or not noticeable...could you post back if they are or not? The reason I ask is that mines are pretty loud and wondering if this is normal or what.

I'm not sure why your skimmer drain does not reach back into the other half of the 1st chamber. Mine does, without any tilting.

Good Luck.

I think you're referring to me about the skimmer. After fiddling with it a little it does reach without tilting. :ninja:

Edited by rizakaniza, 20 August 2009 - 07:05 PM.

Rizakaniza's 39G Cadlights Pro

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#6
mkregs

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I just raised up my durso pipe today and it greatly reduces/ elimates the 'waterfall' noise from the overflow. Also putting an airline in the top cap, as mentioned above, helps the gurgling noise.

You mentioned that the fans for your halide are quiet or not noticeable...could you post back if they are or not? The reason I ask is that mines are pretty loud and wondering if this is normal or what.

I'm not sure why your skimmer drain does not reach back into the other half of the 1st chamber. Mine does, without any tilting.

Good Luck.

I'm assuming you're the same person that posted on my thread in the CAD forum over on the CADLights website. If so, did the (2) 45degree elbows using 1-1/4" PVC work for you for your standpipe? It's worked pretty well for me.

I had a problem with the skimmer drain pipe when I was setting mine up. The pipe coming out of the skimmer was about an inch too short and I couldn't even connect the part with the (2) 90s and the valve where it would go over the divider and into the front of the 1st chamber. I had to install a coupler to extend the pipe so it would fit.

Tim...let's see some pics.

#7
awbowden

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I'm assuming you're the same person that posted on my thread in the CAD forum over on the CADLights website. If so, did the (2) 45degree elbows using 1-1/4" PVC work for you for your standpipe? It's worked pretty well for me.


Don't mean to crowd up the OP's thread, but yes I am the same person. I had originally added (2) 1" 45degree elbows into the oringal standpipe. This restricted the flow to the sump too much and the pump would run dry. So, I cut about an inch off the 1" standpipe and it now functions properly, so I never tried 1-1/4" pipe. The top of the cap is now about level with the top of the tank, and the waterfall noise is eliminated.

Tim...let's see some pics.


I agree.

#8
timdanger

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I'd post some pics, but there's nothing to look at yet!

last night, i did a couple of small modifications:

1, in an attempt to cut down on the gurgling, i cut the drain hose going into the sump. gurgling has pretty much stopped. however, it created quite the waterfall effect. i threw in all the stock bioballs/filter pads, and then all my old bioballs that i had taken out of my biocube 8g to see if that helped -- it did help, some. but i'm going to have to continue to work on that. after reading about the HOFER GURGLE BUSTER (neat name) on ArtC's reefcentral thread, i'm somewhat intrigued. (construction instructions HERE) stay tuned.

sidenote on bioballs... everyone always seems so against bioballs, but i'm wary of this being a product of "group-think" because live rock can trap just as much detritus as bioballs, creating just as much of a potential nitrate problem -- so, i haven't made a decision on them yet.

2, i took some teflon thread tape and used it to create a better (yet still unglued) seal between the skimmer and the skimmer pump. that tightened everything up, and allowed you to sit things at heights that kept everything from tilting around. good stuff.

question on the skimmer: anyone have any good suggestions for quieting that pump down? it's rattling all over the place for me.

As far as "stocking"... I'm ordering the Fiji Pink Arag-Alive from pawtasticpets.com -- good price there, and they're actually not that far from me, so i'm going to go pick it up and save on shipping. screw the expensive mud, i'm just going to put the sand in the fuge. and, i'm also going to pick up some live rock at my LFS, which is reasonably priced and looks nice. i found a piece of live rock at another LFS that actually has a green glass wine bottle with the rock having formed/wrapped AROUND it, just hanging out in the tank with the rest of the live rock. it was pretty amazing. i don't know if "litter" is the look i'm going for in this tank, but it is something that i've thought about.

i'm torn about the heater. i figure i'll go ahead and get a 150w stealth (i've been very, very happy with the 2 stealths i've had in the past. almost no temperature variation in 3 years in my 110g freshwater running 2x250w stealths). it's just, with all this equipment, i'm worried about it getting too HOT, not too cold. my ambient air temp is usually about 74 in the summer, maybe 73-72 in the winter.

Edited by timdanger, 21 August 2009 - 08:43 AM.


#9
timdanger

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I just raised up my durso pipe today and it greatly reduces/ elimates the 'waterfall' noise from the overflow. Also putting an airline in the top cap, as mentioned above, helps the gurgling noise.

You mentioned that the fans for your halide are quiet or not noticeable...could you post back if they are or not? The reason I ask is that mines are pretty loud and wondering if this is normal or what.


1, i am going to try an airline in the top cap to see what happens.

2, what i said about the lighting fans is that they "i didn't notice them," not that they weren't noticeable or quiet! upon double-checking, the halide fan is actually fairly noticeable. i guess i was mostly just paying attention to the water gurgling/skimmer pump chattering when I first turned the lights on. overall, though, i think the halide fan is tolerable. on the other hand, this tank is going in our bedroom, so we're not as concerned about "day noise" as "night noise."

#10
timdanger

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-purchased 40lbs of fiji pink arag-alive and Tom's digital alert thermometer today from pawtastic.com -- should be here by next wednesday. i'm putting off the heater for now until i see what this thermometer is telling me i'm getting in the way of temperature swings.

they aren't kidding when they say nothing happens fast in this hobby...! :mellow:


also, i took some more pictures for you addicts who want to look at pictures of an empty fish tank (i've been looking at it a lot lately!) :haha: i'll upload tonight.

Edited by timdanger, 21 August 2009 - 02:23 PM.


#11
rizakaniza

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they aren't kidding when they say nothing happens fast in this hobby...! :mellow:

...I feel ya bro. I bought some equipment the beginning of the week and it wont get here until Monday. Then I have to start saving for LR & LS. :tears:

Your patience must increase and your wallet must decrease young padawon.
Rizakaniza's 39G Cadlights Pro

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#12
timdanger

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As promised, here are some pictures of my set-up.


Meet my lovely assistant (i.e. fellow fish-guy neighbor), Jaret! He's doing a great job, isn't he ladies and gentlemen?
Posted Image

Let there be light!
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Open Cabinet
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Overflow
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Startin' Sumpin'
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Close up of the Skimmer/Bioballs chamber in the Sump
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#13
mkregs

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Very nice!
Suggestions:
I would trim the return hose between the pump and the bulkhead so it has more of a direct path. It will get the hose out of the way to make it easier to work with whatever you decide to put in the middle chamber.

Also, the sump should run half full. If you measure the sump vertically, take half of that measurement and make a small tick mark with permanent marker on the outside of the sump. This will help you know what level you need to top off to. I'm not sure if you mentioned that you have/will be getting an ATO, but if not it's pretty easy to top off the sump daily to the level you marked. I haven't been using an ATO on this tank and have been adding a little less than 2 quarts per day, so not bad considering this tank is an open top and the light fixture I'm using.

Also, I noticed you have Bioballs in the sump. Do you plan to keep them in there? Most people would advise that you take them out.

Looks like you're on your way.

#14
rizakaniza

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Yes, definitely take out the bioballs.
Rizakaniza's 39G Cadlights Pro

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#15
timdanger

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mkregs - i will definitely be trimming that hose -- i just haven't gotten around to it yet, and i figured i'd do that when i'm gluing everything together "in final" after my replacement sump gets here. thanks for the info about the "non-auto top off" -- i won't be purchasing an ATO for at least a while, but your suggestion about making a mark makes a lot of sense.

mkregs/rizakaniza: re bioballs, that's what i was saying before -- i just am not sold on the concept of "bio-balls = evil." i do understand the theory of "bioballs = higher nitrates," (and i took the bio-balls aout of my biocube 8, just like the next guy)... but i am no longer entirely sold on the train of thought that you must remove bioballs. here is my current theory on bio-balls:

1) you're getting an engineered product designed to maximize surface area for beneficial bacteria populations. this is good.
2) i am going to have plenty of LR in both the display tank and the fuge chamber of the sump to provide biological filtration.
3) bio-balls in the sump are easy to remove and rinse out in water change water as part of routine maintenance, thus removing the evil trapped detritus that causes the nitrates.
4) LR rubble is just as likely as bioballs to attract/trap detritus (and thus raise your nitrates), but the shapes are not as efficient for the cultivation of the bacteria, and would be harder to rinse.
5) i see bioballs being used all over the place in big/professional displays. they are packaged by eddie with the aquarium. if they are so awful, why are they so prevalent?
and, perhaps most importantly, 6) i've already got the bio-balls, so i feel like i have nothing to lose giving them a shot.

having said that, i'm willing to listen to other opinions on this concept. i know it's a conversation that has been rehashed several times in other threads. i just wonder how much of that theory is a product of "group think."

#16
rizakaniza

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Keep us posted on how it works out. If it ends up working better I may throw mine back in as well.
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#17
mkregs

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About Bioballs - I'm not one who would say they are evil either with the qualifier being that they are maintained well by the user. However, I believe you proved in point #2 in your post above that bioballs won't be a necessity in your tank as you are "going to have plenty of LR in both the display tank and the fuge chamber of the sump to provide biological filtration".

That's why I don't use Bioballs in either of my tanks. I don't need them for biological filtration and I certainly wouldn't want them for mechanical filtration.

BTW...good job so far!

#18
timdanger

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another thing that the bioballs are doing, besides providing that mechanical filtration, is tha they are allowing me to raise those filtration pads closer to the source of the water from both the drain and the skimmer output, which cuts down significantly over the waterfall sound with both of them running without the bioballs there. having said that, the waterfall sound is still pretty loud.

will continue to provide updates on my tinkering. not much opportunity to do anything yesterday, but i should have more time in the upcoming week.

#19
timdanger

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new sump arrived today -- haven't de-boxed it yet, but i'm hoping for the best!

#20
rizakaniza

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new sump arrived today -- haven't de-boxed it yet, but i'm hoping for the best!

Woot! :D

fingerscrossed

Edited by rizakaniza, 24 August 2009 - 11:46 AM.

Rizakaniza's 39G Cadlights Pro

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#21
mkregs

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Good luck...

#22
rizakaniza

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Posted Image

An interesting thought just occurred to me. I love how the blue light shines down into your sump. I wonder if there would be a way to mount some moonlight LED's in the sump so it would have a cool blue glow effect...
Rizakaniza's 39G Cadlights Pro

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#23
timdanger

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sump looks good to go! leak testing it now until live sand arrives wednesday!

somehow, in removing the old sump and installing the new one, i've developed less splash, but more gurgle. probably has to do with my water level (filled it a little more). i'll experiment until i find what works, i guess.


EDIT: GAH. GURGLING FROM TANK, WHICH IS DOWNSTAIRS, ENDS UP BEING SO LOUD/OBNOXIOUS THAT I CANNOT SLEEP IN M BEDROOM, WHICH IS UPSTAIRS. :eek: must... fix... gurgle.

Edited by timdanger, 25 August 2009 - 05:03 AM.


#24
timdanger

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An interesting thought just occurred to me. I love how the blue light shines down into your sump. I wonder if there would be a way to mount some moonlight LED's in the sump so it would have a cool blue glow effect...


i think it would be easy to mount moon LEDs, if that's what you want to do. coralife sells those little reticulated joint moonlight LEDs that i imagine just sticks right to the sump. (available HERE).

or, you could get one of those powerbrite LED strips from current usa to get a more intense blue light, if you think moonlights wouldn't do the trick (available HERE. :bling: :naughtydance: though a bit more expensive, they at least serve a purpose in that they would grow something...!

however, the light you're seeing there is my HQI bulb+actinics+moonlights all together. so, moon LEDs are probably not going to create the kind of effect that you see in that picture. and anyway, i think at the end of the day, there are probably going to be better places to spend money, though (at least for me, personally). for instance, i'm slowly getting suckered into the concept of adding a vortech mp10 or mp20... :bling:

Edited by timdanger, 25 August 2009 - 05:16 AM.


#25
timdanger

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GURGLING CONQUERED (for now). :lockdown:

all i had to do was add a short piece of airline tubing (didn't even have to fit flush to the hole) in the top of the durso drain. the gurgling was instantly silenced, period. this is the quietest my tank has been since setup (now the skimmer motor is all i hear). the airline tubing i used was about 4" long or so, which i found did a better job than the 2" piece i tried to use at first. thanks for the suggestions, mkregs.

Edited by timdanger, 25 August 2009 - 01:50 PM.