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artarmon42

Hydor Flo, Maxi Jet 900 & cassette skimmer

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artarmon42

So today, I got around to overhauling my tank's water flow system.

 

The first order was to replace my MiniJet 606 and duckbill with a MaxiJet 900 and Hydor Flo. Seeing a bunch of people have been asking about the deflector and alternative return pumps recently, I figured I'd take some pictures of what I did to help illustrate the process.

 

The Hydor Flo is comparatively big. So the first thing is to Dremel off the unnecessary outer ring. If you've seen the Flo in person (or if you look at my later pictures), you'll see that even after trimming it's still pretty big. But the "wave effects" (if you're really after that) is well worth it!

 

Here is the trimmed Flo with the Dremel's "cutter" and "sander".

H1-trim.JPG

 

Here is the stock MaxiJet 900, with the stock "feet" (removeable bracket and suction cups) installed.

H2-Maxi900.JPG

 

Taking out the old MiniJet 606, you can see that the MaxiJet 900 is larger. You can tell that the stock tubing for the water to get back to the return "hole" will be longer than needed with this new pump.

H3-pumps.JPG

 

The stock tubing attaches snuggly (is that even a word :unsure: ) to the MaxiJet's output.

H4-connect-Maxi.JPG

 

Oh-o! When it came time to put the MaxiJet into the back, I realized that the stock "feet" was too big and would not fit.

H5-too-big.JPG

Edited by artarmon42

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artarmon42

I am not a fan of putting vibrating things (in this case a pump) against glass, for fear of cracking it. So it's pretty important to have the suction cups as shock absorbers. So, Dremel to the rescue! The "cutter" extension easily and neatly slices the unnecessary bits off.

H6-cut-feet.JPG

 

2 of the suction cups go onto the new "feet".

H7-new-feet.JPG

H8-feet-installed.JPG

 

Remeber how the stock return tubing would be too long (because the MaxiJet is higher)? By putting the pump in this way, there is more distance for the tubing to go (hypotenuse is longer than the sides of a triangle :angel: ).

H9-going-in.JPG

H10-inside.JPG

 

The Hydor Flow fits easily into the return outlet. The unit comes with 4 connectors, and one fits perfectly. It's not "super tight", but it's a snug fit and attaches securely.

H11-hydor.JPG

 

You might observe that even with the outer ring trimmed off, there is still not enough space for my Mag-Float get between the Flo and the glass. Gotta get me some of CJermone's Nimbles for this tank!

 

The size of the Hydor puts it pretty close to the water surface. But luckily it doesn't create any crazy splashing effects against my splashguard.

H12-water-level.JPG

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artarmon42

I am a recent convert to Doriftu's surface skimmer mod, so I took some pictures of my installation.

 

I'm not totally bought into the clear cassette tape look. NanoBob offers an alternative stock look that I'm considering. But free is necessary for the moment after all the nifty corals I just bought :blush:

 

Anyway, I had the cassette tape installed for a few days, but was not fully satisfied with the edge (it was straight, without overflow teeth). So, Dremel comes to the rescue again...

S1-dremel.JPG

 

You might observe that the plastic "melted" onto my "sander" attachment. Not sure how to get it off, but luckily I have a couple spare.

 

The overflow works great.

S2-overflow.JPG

 

I've got filter material (just the plan old $5 for a huge pile from the LFS) that all water would need to pass before flowing into the other rear chambers. You should be able to see "crap" already being collected back there.

S3-filter.JPG

 

And so, the water surface is crystal clear...

S4-clear.JPG

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Web Guy

You beat me to it!... Mine is ordered. But I was thinking about mouting it below the stock outlet. I was thinking about running a pump in chamber 1 and running tubing up and over to the hydro mounted below the stock outlet. If your set up works let me know. I will not cut a hole below the stock outlet. Watch it and see what happens.

 

Thanks!

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artarmon42

I'm pretty surprised at how effective the surface skimmer is, particularly in comparison to a pump in chamber 1 configuration.

 

The 2 observations that support my opinion are:

1) The water surface is clearer that it has ever been.

2) The "solids" suspended in the water column disppear pretty quickly (combination of the stronger flow, the overflow surface skimming, and the filter media).

 

In the next few days, I'm intending to replace the filter media with Polyfilter (I already use Polyfilter between the Chaeto and chamber 3). The idea being that Polyfilter will absorb ammonia (if solids start decomposing in that filter) so it can stay in there longer before needing to be replaced, whereas the plain filter media will need to be changed every few days.

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Web Guy

So how is the flow with just running the hyrdo flo? I was going to use the stock return outlet and then drill a hole for the hydro below it. But if the flow is fine with a larger pump which I was planning on getting anyways then I will go that way.

 

Thanks!

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artarmon42

If I was going to continue keeping a SPS in this tank, I'd increase the flow (up it to 600+ gph).

 

For a non-SPS tank (as I'm intending this to house my Onyx and a RBTA only), I think the flow is fine.

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artarmon42

I forgot to post this earlier, but this will give you a good sense of the different water levels in the back chamber once the surface skimmer (with overflow teeth) goes in.

S5-water-levels.JPG

 

When I checked on the setup this afternoon, I found that the third chamber (with the return pump) had a pretty low water level. At another 2-3 inches lower, I was worried that the heater would get dry and crack (the heater now works alot more, since I increased the tank's base temperature).

 

So I made deeper grooves in the overflow.

S6-deeper-teeth.JPG

 

You'll notice the plastic melted onto the Dremel extension. Definitely a reminder to always wear safety goggles when working with a Dremel!

 

Putting the surface skimmer back into place, the teeth now stick out for more efficient surface skimming.

S7-teeth-out.JPG

 

Oh, and I took the opportunity to use my turkey baster to blow the crap into the water column. See how much the filter has collected since I this morning's post. :x

S8-filter.JPG

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LVReefer

Awesome thread...

I am looking into buying a nano cube 24g deluxe and you answered a couple of concerns that I had.

 

I do however have a ? about the surface skimmer. How does it stay in place?

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Web Guy

His stays on just from the suction of the intake. Some others use screws so it can be adjusted up and down. Also when you turn off your pumps it will not fall.:)

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artarmon42
Originally posted by Web Guy

His stays on just from the suction of the intake. Some others use screws so it can be adjusted up and down. Also when you turn off your pumps it will not fall.:)

 

Heh, thanks for chipping in there.

Must have been breathing in the dremel fumes, because I completely misread his question :blink:

 

Actually even with the pumps turned off, mine stays up for a few minutes. Haven't figured out why it does that... maybe some kind of weird pressure mismatch ??? It does fall if you move the water around (like stick your hand in), but target feeding corals with a turkey baster doesn't seem to affect it.

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Web Guy

My Cheato is growing like crazy with my 50/50 18watt refugium light installed. I am going to keep using it until I have issues. I was going to switch down to the 13watt daylight. But since it seems to be working why change it?

 

I need to get on my Hydroflo set up. Just need to decide if I want to cut a new hole and use both the stock outlet and the hydro flo or do what you did.

 

So far 3 weeks later with all of my bioload still running perfect. Did my water change today and tested water.:)

 

Tang looks great! I got him to start eating dried sea weed and other stuff that he likes from a clip in the tank. It took a week for him not to be scared of it. He is so blue right now. He looks great! The other one at the LFS died..:) Mine will kick it until I have to get rid of him I bet.

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artarmon42

You know, light is only a catalyst for macro algae growth. Nutrients are what it needs (crazy growth = crazy nitrates :P).

 

Of course today is only Day #1. But I've very happy with the 3 changes documented in this thread. I believe a marked improvement to the overall health of the tank.

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d_icemand

does the grooves cut into the cassete case really help? i installed a case without grooves on my 24 and the water looks great! i was just wondering what i would gain by cutting the grooves.

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artarmon42

The grooves help alot!

 

Without them, I found that:

1) IF the level was set just right, it would remove the surface scum. This is best case.

2) Most of the other time (e.g. with evaporation or top off, the water level would change) the calibration would be off.

3) If the water level was too high, too much water would flow in, and it wouldn't clear up all the surface scum.

4) If the water level was too low, it would start sucking in water from the sides eliminating any surface cleaning action.

 

The teeth seem to allow for a higher variation in water levels for effective surface skimming. Plus I think the "depth" allows it to suck in crud that's just before the surface.

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Web Guy

So, a few days later and what do you think? If I go the way you went should I go a bigger pump if it will fit? I still am not sure if I am going this way or just tap out another hole below the stock inlet and run it that way. I was thinking again of running some tubing over from chamber 1 and then hooking it up that way. Still not sure...lol

 

If I go your way I will run more Cheato in chamber 1 on a shelf. My light goes all the way across almost.

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artarmon42

Actually I put it through the "artarmon optimization" review, and came up with some interesting observations and modifications. I'll upload photos and update later tonight.

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artarmon42

After a few days of "testing" (playing around :P) I observed the following:

1) The cassette tape skimmer mod (with teeth/grooves) is very impressive in collecting crap on the surface, and reasonably effective for stuff in the water column.

2) The Maxi-Jet 900's 230gph is powerful enough, so that there is enough water movement by the time it spins the Hydor Flo. Comparatively, I found the Mini-Jet 606 lost alot of it's power going through the Hydor Flo.

3) While I would like a more powerful pump (the Hydor Flo is apparently rated up to 310gph), the way that I get the water to go through the surface skimmer and Polyfilter pads make that difficult (see next point).

4) When I looked in chamber 3 this morning, I found that the water level had dropped another inch. I am not sure why it dropped so much from yesterday afternoon to this morning... I can only guess a minor change in water level (e.g. evaporation) can be magnified in the smaller back chambers.

5) The risk here is that my 75W Ebo Jager heater (10" tall) was about one-third out of the water. I was worried that any further drop would cause the heater to crack or overheat.

6) Meanwhile, the filter media in Chamber 1 was doing an outstanding job collecting all the crap that I had blown into the water column.

7) I noticed that the level of the media meant that all water had to go through it before flowing into chamber 2. This created a perfect situation where I could force all water through a Polyfilter pad... so I replaced the filter media with Polyfilter.

8 ) I also decided to move my Chaeto from chamber 2, to sit on top of the Polyfilter pad. I'm not sure how it'll work in the long run.(I've read that fuges want slow water flow, not 290gph worth of water flowing through it). But the one positive thing is that the Polyfilter below it should catch stray pieces of Chaeto before it floats free and block my return pump (as it was doing while in chamber 2).

 

So on to the pictures...

 

Here is the setup.

Chamber 1: live rock rubble, Polyfilter, Chaeto.

Chamber 2: live rock rubble, heater, Polyfilter.

Chamber 3: Purigen, Rowaphos (sometimes), Maxi-Jet 900.

S9-new-setup.JPG

 

Close up of chamber 1's "fuge". All the water coming in through the surface skimmer must go down BELOW the Polyfilter before it filters into the next chamber.

S10-fuge.JPG

 

Close up of chambers 2 and 3, with the red lines marking the water level.

S11-water-level.JPG

 

In moving the Chaeto to chamber 1, I repositioned by fuge light. I had significant spill over light previously, but now with the clear cassette tape cover it is even brighter. I will probably replace the cassette tape with a black cover once I validate that my grooves are deep enough.

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embryoguy

art,

 

w/ the cassette mod. i was also concerned with the water level in the 3rd chamber. i ended up breaking my thermo. due to air exposure, during a water change. i forgot to unplug it!

 

but i ended switching to a titanium heater, which can run dry. currently the water level is only covers 2/3 of the heater and i dont have to unplug the heater every time i do a water change since the water level drops dramatically during a water change.

 

just a thought!

 

great job, another good modificatin. im surprised nanocustoms has not recruited you yet! heh

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artarmon42
Originally posted by embryoguy

i ended switching to a titanium heater, which can run dry. just a thought!

 

That's a great thought!

What brand?

 

Originally posted by embryoguy

great job, another good modificatin. im surprised nanocustoms has not recruited you yet! heh

 

LOL, Chris has tried!

But I'm too selfish (I just want to solve my problems, don't have time to work on other people's things). :angel:

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Web Guy

Hmmm, Interesting! I need some time to soak this in.:)

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artarmon42

Did the weekly water change today and noticed that:

1) The Polyfilter, which was new last week, was pretty brown. That's positive because it's obviously able to catch more crap because of the surface skimmer.

2) The Chaeto has grown since putting it into Chamber 1. This is probably positive because as it demonstrates that it is still able to get nutrients from the wter (so the flow isn't too fast as I had feared).

3) The Chaeto had collected alot of detritus. This is logically obvious (as all the skimmed water goes past the Chaeto before it hits the Polyfilter). I had to thoroughly "rinse" (shake out) the Chaeto to get rid of the detritus. This is not great news because it means more maintenance over time. I'll need to think about how to overcome this negative.

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artarmon42

While the Maxi 900 and Hydor Flo is creating nice random movement, I've decided that it is not enough :-*

 

So I put my Seio M620 back in, connected to my Chauvet chase timer (1 minute on, 1 minute off). The Seio is half open, so I figure it's pushing an additional 300gph every other minute.

 

The Onyx were a little freaked out for the first few minutes (couldn't figure out why the current kept changing I guess :angel: ), but adjusted quickly.

 

It's awesome for blowing the crud into the water column, so that the surface skimmer grabs it. It seemed like I had cloudy water for the first 2 hours, but it looks clear again this morning.

 

05-27-05.JPG

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Web Guy

I just picked up my Hydor Flo. I got the smaller one! I am about to break out the Dremel and go to town. I did not get the other pump yet. I decided to wait until I see what my current pump does with it. If it does not push enough I will go back up and pick out a pump.:)

 

artarmon42 - I don't like the big thing in your tank. Takes away from the simplicity look of it.

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Web Guy

UPDATE!! Installed... That was easy! Took the ring off and stuck it on.:)

 

I still think a bigger pump will be necessary as well!!

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