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Nekomi's 37g Oceanic Cube


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#1
nekomi

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As some of you probably know, I was planning on setting up a JBJ 12g DX as my first reef. Well... change of plans :) I couldn't resist and ran out to buy a 37g Oceanic cube on Friday afternoon. B)

I eventually decided on the 37 because a) it's a perfect fit for my living room, b ) I'm not sure if I can trust JBJ with such a large investment of livestock, even if their 2006 tanks are supposedly better, and c) I figured it would be better to save for a few extra months in order to get a system that would last longer without outgrowing it. :D

So, I ordered the tank today and brought home the stand. The stand itself is beautiful, a nice medium oak cabinet made by a local carpenter. Unlike Oceanic's "official" stand for this system, there is plenty of room inside to fit a 10-gallon sump and refugium. And the stand is tall enough that I might build an extra shelf to hold an ATO also.

Thankfully, most of the equipment I bought for the JBJ is still good to go with the new system, so I didn't have to make many returns. Chris at nanocustoms was really great about letting me cancel my lighting order - no hassles or questions at all. Although I am seriously sorry that I had to do it! Nanocustoms seems to be a great company from the experience I had, and I was looking forward to doing business with them. :(

#2
nekomi

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On Saturday evening, I got to work on the sump. I went out to Walmart and picked up a cheap 10 gallon tank, then used a glass marking pen to visually divide it into three sections - intake zone, return zone, and refugium - to give me a better idea of how large each space would be when finished. The design is based off the Model F sump found at Melev's Reef.

My cat, Shade, offered to test the system before I started:
Posted Image

Here's the sump, marked with a Vis-a-Vis glass marker, with added text/dividing lines in Photoshop. The top inch of the wall between the refugium and return zone will have skimming teeth cut into it.
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The sump's compartments are divided like this (with baffles spaced 1" apart):

8"x10"x8"high refugium - holds roughly 2.2 gallons
6"x10"x7"high intake zone (including baffles) - holds roughly 1.5 gallons
6"x10"x7"high return zone - holds roughly 1.5 gallons

The whole sump would hold about 5.2 gallons when running, which leaves me almost 5 gallons of overflow from the main system.

The intake zone will hold one drain from my main tank; the return zone will hold two Maxijet 1200 pumps for the return lines, a 50watt heater, and the probe of a 50watt IceProbe chiller; and the refugium will have GARF grunge, leftover sand, and macroalgae, as well as the second drain line.

I do have some questions:

Overall, does the design seem feasible? Any pitfalls I'm missing? This will be my first setup and my first sump, so I'm flying blindly here..

Does the baffle spacing seem good? Compartments seem large and deep enough, or should I make them an inch taller?

I'm not currently planning on a protein skimmer - but I want to leave room in case I add one later. Can anyone recommend a small skimmer with a small footprint that would work well in this system? Nothing's in stone yet, so I can add more room to the intake zone to accomodate a skimmer if necessary.

#3
SLOreefer

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sounds awesome, i wish i had a different stand cause i have the oceanic stand...damn 2 inches too short for the 10 gallon. as far as skimmers i like euro-reef. they arent small though. for small try the aqua c urchin.

and you still can do business with chris at nano-customs...buy a 250 watt halide system from him for the tank, or some t-5 setup or something.
"The object to life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, with a big smile shouting, "Holy s#!t ...what a ride!"

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#4
nekomi

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SLO, thanks for the comments. I'll check out the Aqua C Urchin skimmers. I see that the CPR SR2 skimmer isn't too large either... anyone have a comment on those? Or should I even run a skimmer at all?

Actually, for lighting, I'm going with a Current USA Orbit fixture - 150watt HQI + 2x65watt actinic PC's. I'm in an apartment, so I can't hang anything, so I went with a self-contained unit on mounting legs.

#5
Duke13

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I'd go with an Aqua C over CPR any day, it's worth the extra money.

#6
nekomi

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Duke, thanks for the input. I'll definitely be looking into that skimmer.

Just for kicks, here's a picture of the new stand. :) I'll be swapping out the hardware to a brushed nickel square knob to match the other cabinetry in the room. It practically looks like it's part of a set with the entertainment center - the color matches that closely.

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I know, I know - crappy pic, but we have a houseguest right now, and his bed is RIGHT in front of the stand. :| I couldn't move further away for a better shot. :)

As you can see, the sump fits perfectly in the stand, although someone suggested that I upgrade it to a 15g high (same footprint). I figure as long as I haven't purchased the glass yet, it's better to upgrade sooner than later.

Posted Image

#7
nekomi

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On to my next dilemna...

I spent the better part of yesterday and today planning out my overflow and plumbing setup, but I'm nowhere near having a conclusive design yet. Here's what I've considered so far:

Option A

Originally, my plan was to go with a full-length internal overflow box (this was my original diagram that I posted here months ago):

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Everyone gave me lots of input on this design when I posted. Lots of revisions and suggestions were offered, and in the end, I opted to change the plain drainage holes to Durso standpipes.

Option B

After much thought, however, and a new placement of the tank in the room, I'm much more excited about the option of using external overflow boxes like the ones seen here:

http://reefcentral.c...threadid=271539

After having the stand set up and seeing the dimensions clearly in my room, shaving 1-2" off the back would make the tank quite shallow (and I originally chose it because of its unique depth). An external overflow box seems like a much better option to me.

I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about them, though. Seems that on larger tanks (36" and up), the back wall has a tendency to crack under the added weight of the water in the overflow box. Many have suggested using two smaller external overflow boxes on opposite ends of the back wall as a way to remedy this problem. Which method do you think I should use? I'm worried because my tank is fairly wide (18" front to back) and has no supporting brace across the top.

I'm still in the process of creating a diagram, but I need a few questions answered first... which brings me to my next question: recommended flow.

Plumbing Problems

Amidst all my thinking about sumps, overflows, etc. the past few days, I realized that I had totally forgotten to include head height in my consideration for return pumps.

I have on hand two Maxijet 1200's as well as a Maxijet 900, and not a single one of them are going to be suitable as return pumps. :( The distance from the floor of my sump to the top of the aquarium will be roughly 47", with a few 90-degree elbows thrown in, to make matters worse.

So now I'm in the market for new pumps... recommended flow is 10-20x tank volume per hour, correct?

If it helps any, coral selection will be mainly softies and LPS, with a few easier SPS such as Montipora capricornis. But since I can always move the softies to an area with lower flow, I'd like to plan for the upper end of that range just to keep my options open.

I'm planning on including two return lines, so if anyone can recommend pumps that will give me a combined total of 720 gph, I would greatly appreciate it. And if anyone is looking to buy the three Maxijet's I won't be using anymore... be my guest, just PM or email me :)

#8
nekomi

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In the end, I decided on two Quiet One 3000 pumps for my returns. Calculated using RC's head loss calculator, I'll have about 1000 gph this way, and the ball valves should make it a little less. So it should work well... it's always easier to reduce flow rather than add it. :)

I also purchased my lights today. I went with the 24" CurrentUSA Orbit fixture, providing 150watts of HQI plus 130 watts of actinic PC's. Whew. Pricey, but I'm sure it will be well worth it. B)

Edited by nekomi, 12 January 2006 - 07:22 PM.


#9
rjg

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Any updates? I'm interested in seeing some pics!

#10
nekomi

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Heh, hopefully an update will be coming shortly... I just got back from being out-of-town for Thanksgiving, to find a whole pile of packages waiting for me. Let's see... protein skimmer, auto top off, black acrylic sheet, eggcrate... it's getting there! o_O

Aquarium Adventure also called me today to let me know that my tank had finally arrived. I'm measuring the actual inside dimensions right now so that I can cut the eggcrate and acrylic into shape.

Once I finish measuring, I'll move the aquarium onto the stand and add some pics. :)

#11
nekomi

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Well, I just finished cutting the eggcrate cover for the tank. I measured the inside lip of the tank, marked the eggcrate with a Sharpie, and then went at it with the Dremel. ;)

I made the first rough cut with a tiny sanding bit, then tried fitting it. It took about 3 more rounds with a larger sanding disc before it would fit properly, but it worked well! The small sanding bit, however, is completely ruined over with melted plastic. But all in all, it's nice to have another piece of the project completed!!

Here's some crappy pics of the tank, sitting on the stand with the Outer Orbit HQI/PC fixture mounted on top.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by nekomi, 28 November 2005 - 05:12 PM.


#12
SaltCreep

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boy that light sure is a nice fit! It's like it was made for that specific tank. This is gonna be awesome!

#13
Whitten

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I love thos 37 gallon cubes, I personally have a 30 gallon cube and love it.

I have some answers and advice for your above questions and ideas.
Your sump looks good but I think you are going to have issues with rapid depleation of water in the return chamber...so it is good you have the ATO.

Skimmer, I have recently setup several tanks with Coralife Super Skimmers...wow what a great skimmer. For $89.00 you get a skimmer that litterally makes the Remora and Remora Pros that I had on tanks look like little sissys. If you are looking for a great skimmer or have bought one before you heard about this one I highly suggest you return the one you have or buy this one at your first chance.

External Overflow, great idea, infact if I had it to do over again that is what I would have done. The moulding around the edge of the tank coupled with the 3/8" thick glass you should have no need to worry about stress on the back of the tank. That glass is thick and very strong.

Issues that I ran into with my own 10 gallon sump:
While running a SCWD with two u tube returns a power failure would cause a reverse suction to be started and begin a process of sucking water back down to the sump. This caused my sump to overflow several times. I don't know how you intend to plumb back to the tank but take that into consideration.

Consider getting a Won Proheat II 150 watt heater for the tank. It is worth it to have a very reliable heater that tells you exactly what the tank is at at all times. The 50 watt heater may not cut it if you ask me. I use the 150 because I like my tank to stay at a constant temp.

Good luck and let me know if you need anything.

Edited by Whitten, 28 November 2005 - 08:54 PM.


#14
nekomi

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######, I agree! I'm really happy with how the light looks over the tank. :)

Whitten, THANK YOU for all the advice! It's a great help...

As for skimmers, right now I have an AquaC Urchin skimmer, as it has come highly recommended to me :) But I'll keep what you said about the Coralife in mind if I end up back in the market for a skimmer. I bought mine used from a RC classified, so I can't return it... and I definitely can't cough up the cash for a second skimmer right now. ;)

The glass on my tank is actually 1/4" thick. But you're right, I'm sure this tank could hold up with an external overflow - this thing is SOLID. I can see why Oceanic tanks come so highly recommended around here.

I'm not planning on running a closed loop or an SWCD. But I have considered it. My main issue is, I'm not sure how to run a SWCD when I'm using two seperate return pumps. Hopefully, nearly 1000 gph of flow coming from the return pumps should provide PLENTY of flow... in fact, I'm hesitant to add any more since I'm not going BB. Any input would be fantastic.

As for heaters, I had been considering the 50watt heater only because I figured the halides would be heating the water plenty. But I hadn't considered nighttime temps... oops o_O Good advice, thanks. :)

EDIT: Not sure why it's censoring out your name, S a l t C r e e p, but the beginning of my post up there is addressed to you ;)

Edited by nekomi, 28 November 2005 - 09:38 PM.


#15
fras

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That looks like a fantastic setup, really clean looking, wish I had taken the time you have when I set up my system. One thing though, do you not get bare bulb in the eye when you're sitting on the sofa?

#16
nekomi

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One thing though, do you not get bare bulb in the eye when you're sitting on the sofa?


Heh! :) Actually, the eggcrate on the top keeps me from looking directly into the bulb, and it's not too bad. Don't get me wrong - it's still REALLY bright, and I'll probably be building a DIY semi-canopy for it, but in the meantime, it's not enough to bother me too much.

However, what IS bothering me is the insane amount of glare from the sliding door on the front of the tank during the day. I'll probably be moving the tank across to the other side of the sofa to get it away from the window (probably a good idea anyhow).

#17
gjones

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Nice looking setup. I'd move the tank out of direct sunlight, it only causes algea problems, other than that it looks great.
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#18
rjg

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nekomi,

That looks awesome.. Is that actually an Oceanic stand? If you don't mind sharing, can you tell us how much the tank and stand ran you?

#19
nekomi

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That looks awesome.. Is that actually an Oceanic stand? If you don't mind sharing, can you tell us how much the tank and stand ran you?


No problem! The tank was special-ordered by my LFS direct from Oceanic - it IS a standard size, but it is much harder to get ahold of than the more popular 30g cube. The tank cost me $110 tank-only, no light or glass top.

The stand is NOT the official Oceanic one. I decided against the official stand because it's 2" too small for a 10 gallon sump! This stand was custom-made by a local carpenter, and on display at the LFS with a 37g cube combo on it (a matching canopy too, but I didn't purchase it). I fell in love with the setup the minute I saw it almost a year ago... I honestly can't believe no one bought it all those months that I was drooling over it. But anyway, it was $250 for the stand. So $350 total!

EDIT: In case anyone's interested, the LFS is Aquarium Adventure in Columbus, OH. They are generally overpriced on livestock, but it's the best place in the city for tank setups.

Edited by nekomi, 01 December 2005 - 07:23 PM.


#20
tkblazer

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thats a fine lookin stand, can't wait to see how the entire setup turns out

#21
Cesar

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Very nice. That tank has alot of potential man. Keep us posted on your adventure.

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#22
nekomi

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I just got back from the glass shop to pick up the aquarium... they finished cutting out the slot for the overflow in the back, and all went without any issue. They were concerned because they had never done such a job before and they were afraid it might crack, but it came out perfectly! What's more, they only charged me $50 for a job that should have cost $200 (2 hrs of labor at $100 per hour). Why they did that, I'll never know... but all I can say is that I appreciate it! :) (The glass shop is A Touch Of Glass and Mirror in northeast Columbus, if anyone is interested.)

I also picked up the glass sheets for the external overflow box. After figuring out how to silicone it all together, I'll be ready to tackle some of the plumbing issues.

So far, so good...! I'll be posting pictures of the overflow slot/weir as soon as I can download them from my camera.

#23
nekomi

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Pictures of the overflow slot/weir are attached... I would host them on my own server, but it went down this afternoon. Views shown are from the front, the back, and my cat insisting on checking the workmanship for herself... :lol:

There was a little crazing in spots around the cut, and a tiny crack between the top of the glass and the weir, but since water will never put any pressure on that area, I'm positive it'll be fine. I'm still going to smear some extra silicone on it just to be sure, but I have no doubts that the system will hold up.

The process I used was first to use a dremel to cut away a slot in the plastic edging. Using a razor blade, I peeled away the excess silicone on the inside of the tank, so that I could mark on it with a felt-tip pen. After the shape was marked, it was off to the glass shop :) But I've heard that you can also do this with a diamond bit on a dremel. I was just too nervous to try it myself.

Attached Files


Edited by nekomi, 15 December 2005 - 02:43 PM.


#24
gjones

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Looks good.

There's an aquarium adventure down here by cincinnati. I agree livestock is overpriced (knew an employee, he said all livestock has at least a 400% markup, in some cases 600% from their price) but you can't beat the prices on tanks there!
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#25
nekomi

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Finally got a chance to work some more on my reef... I was selling at an art show last weekend, and preparing for that had taken over my life for the past few weeks. :wacko:

So, first chance I got, I set off to work on installing the external overflow box. The tools needed for the job were a paper towel, an aluminum T-square, a can of pure acetone, DAP 100% silicone for aquariums, a pair of magnetic Magic Hand 90-degree levels, and a felt-tip pen.

Posted Image

First, I took the back piece of glass that I had cut, positioned it flat against the back of the aquarium, and traced around it with a felt tip pen. I then ducked inside the aquarium and duplicated the same lines on the back inside wall. Next, I took acetone and wiped down the edge of the glass to be siliconed, as well as the portion of the aquarium's back wall that would receive the glass. This removed some of the marker lines, but the ones on the inside of the back wall remained intact.

I then ran a thick bead of silicone all along the edge of the glass that I had just cleaned. Lining it up with the marker, I pushed it firmly against the aquarium. I then took the pair of magnetic hands and used them to keep the glass at a perfect 90-degree angle.

Posted Image

After about 4 hours or so, the silicone had hardened enough that I could remove the magnetic hands without worry of the glass leaning or falling over, so I set to work on the other side of the overflow box.

Posted Image

As soon as this side cures a bit more, I'll begin installing the top pane. The bottom of the overflow still has to go to the glass shop to be drilled before I can install it.

And just for fun, here's a pic of the acrylic back panel my dad made to give the aquarium a clean look and hide the external overflow. The acrylic sheet is 1/8" thickness and was purchased from U.S. Plastics. Their service was great and I'd highly recommend them! My dad used a table saw to cut the acrylic sheet down to size, then cut a template and used a jig to make the overflow teeth. He did a FANTASTIC job - it looks extremely professional!

Posted Image

Edited by nekomi, 10 January 2006 - 08:00 AM.