Jump to content

Building an over-complicated system - 60 gallon lagoon


milesmiles902
 Share

Recommended Posts

First off, I would like to start off by thanking PowderBlue, WingRider62 and Garrett from TPA. I wouldn't have been able to do this without you guys.

Today I finally finished setting up my 60 gallon lagoon and connecting it to my main display.

Display.jpg

...but where did this all start? About a month ago, I came across WingRider62's 6 bulb T5 fixture on the forum and decided the deal was too sweet that I had to grab it. On the way north, I stopped by TPA and they had this tank sitting in the back of the store. I knew it would fit the light, so I grabbed it too.

I got back home and unloaded them, but they sat in my garage for a couple weeks because I didn't have a stand. I saw Powderblue selling his stand and sump, but couldn't pick it up during the week because of work and finals. Before.jpg

with the sump below the aquarium:

Sump.jpgSump2.jpg

Right after my finals finished, I left the testing room and began drawing my plumbing plans....on the back of my final. :happy: I knew I couldn't get the old sump out from below the 75, so I decided to re-implement it as an auto top-off reservoir as shown below. I went and ordered all the pieces online and began to wait.

Schematic.jpg

After failing and wasting too many materials in my life, I finally...FINALLY realized what separates the men from the boys and it's measuring. So, I went and re-drew everything to scale on multiple pieces of cardboard. This:

Cardboard1.jpg

...became this:

Cardboard2.jpg

The refugium was going to be below the tank and I didn't want it to shine through at night, so when some PVC was drying, I added some aquarium backdrop to the bottom of the aquarium.

Backdrop.jpg

Outside of the aquarium is blue and inside is black.

Backdrop2.jpg

I had to size everything up, so two nights ago, the living room looked like this (if you look closely there is actually a toothbrush on the ground).

Floor.jpg

I was sizing up a lot of the larger pieces before I glued them. I knew even with measuring, nothing was going to fit snugly. Zip ties were key.

Sump1.jpg

Before I had everything on the lagoon completely glued, I went and painted some of the PVC black because I didn't want the white to distract.

Paint 2.jpg

Paint.jpg

Once all the plumbing was done for the lagoon, I had to begin plumbing the display. I screwed up when I originally designed the overflow and had to cut it to implement to new plumbing. Here is what it looked like:

Display Sump.jpg

Display sump2.jpgSump3.jpg

Once I cut the display overflow, the clock was ticking. It no longer had a sump and a lot of the equipment had to be temporarily moved around. Eventually, I sized everything up, but the worse part was I realized I didn't have enough water to supply my new tank and sump, so there was a lot of waiting.

People! Make extra water! Anyhow...I had a lot of time to clean out my old sump while I waited. 

Waiting.jpg

Here is what it looks like now. It is going to be used as an auto top-off reservoir. I was also getting sick of remaking my two part calcium and alkalinity solutions every couple months, so I upgraded to 5 gallon containers.

Sump New.jpg

Everything eventually came online. Being in a rental home, it would be the end of me if all the water spilled, but I fearfully went to bed. I had known that there is always minor leaks, so I threw some towels down around the tanks.

When I woke up this morning, I sprinted over to my aquarium to find everything ALIVE! A couple towels were wet, but nothing I couldn't clean up. Here is what it looked like after I transferred some of the coral. 

Tank.jpgTank2.jpgCoral2.jpgCoral4.jpgCoral6.jpgCoral3.jpgCoral7.jpgCoral8.jpg

Now for the part that was the most complicated. The main sump. P.S. Zip ties are still attached for safety reasons.

Mainsump1.jpg

Let me dissect this monstrosity. On the left, we have the return pump, going to a a 1 inch true union check valve and then a four-way junction. On the four-way is a 1" return to the main display, 3/4" return to the frag tank (with gate valves) and currently a screw-on cap. Eventually, I plan to route this junction straight through the wall behind the tanks and into the garage. It would give me the opportunity to have water change reservoirs out of sight from the public and have easy access for disposal. It's not happening anytime soon, but I hope that in the future I will never have to lift another bucket.

Mainsumpleft.jpg

On the right, is the drains (and emergency) from the tanks, skimmer, heaters and refugium. I was so pissed off that I glued that gate valve at an angle, but if that's the worse of my problems. Who cares. Although, that refugium light did fall into my tank early this morning and I immediately pulled on the cord to get it out. The light never went off, nor did the power bar or breaker, so I unplugged it and let it dry. Once dry, I plugged the bulb in, but couldn't remember if I left it on or off...it started making a slight buzzing noise, so I assumed it was on. I tried turning it "off" but that was really on and the thing exploded. No light bulb in sight, half the fixture was gone and this time the breaker blew. Luckily, I had an extra lying around.

MainSumpRight.jpg

People, before you build a tank, do these things:

1. Keep the power off, until everything is in place. I learned that the hard way.

2. Make enough water before you start. Count on leaks and count on overshooting your guesstimate. It never hurts to make extra.

3. I had to cut a couple bulk heads because they were either damaged, too small, or had silt in them. Be careful with them because you often don't have any to spare.

4. PVC is made to fit only a certain size. Build it at the store, bring it home with a couple pieces in excess. When it is 3 am and you need a 1" to 3/4" adapter because something is leaking...ya, just buy extras and return them as needed. Home depot is cool like that.

 

All in all, this is what the tanks looked like late tonight. They are operational, with a few minor things to come. You'll just have to wait and see. :)

Wait and see.jpg

 

 

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hooray!

Great build, epic plumbing planning.  That is a whole new level, nice job!

Just loved all the shots, the great and the not as good, kept it real.  So many threads only show the perfection at the end.  I learn by seeing the details, much appreciated.  Oh and if all you ended up with as a regret was  rotated gate valve... Well done!

Just curious, do you keep a spare return pump?  Your slice of the ocean is growing and would hate to see a dead return pump wipe ya out!

Also curious if you run a gfci and a grounding probe.  I hate getting shocked and with the kids digging in the tank it takes it to a new level of responsibility around here.

Oh PS:  They sell combo gfci and arc fault interrupters now.  Those are the best for safety.  Neither are good for the reef, losing power stinks. But hey, that is what the APEX heartbeat feature is for, it will let you know if they trip.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great job Miles and really nice write up. Good to hear other people's experiences with trying to get it right. Seems like no matter how much planning you do, there is always something that doesn't quite work the way you had hoped. Expect the unexpected I guess!

I'm getting jealous of all you folks with the nice frag tanks!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, TheClark said:

Hooray!

Great build, epic plumbing planning.  That is a whole new level, nice job!

Just loved all the shots, the great and the not as good, kept it real.  So many threads only show the perfection at the end.  I learn by seeing the details, much appreciated.  Oh and if all you ended up with as a regret was  rotated gate valve... Well done!

Just curious, do you keep a spare return pump?  Your slice of the ocean is growing and would hate to see a dead return pump wipe ya out!

Also curious if you run a gfci and a grounding probe.  I hate getting shocked and with the kids digging in the tank it takes it to a new level of responsibility around here.

Oh PS:  They sell combo gfci and arc fault interrupters now.  Those are the best for safety.  Neither are good for the reef, losing power stinks. But hey, that is what the APEX heartbeat feature is for, it will let you know if they trip.  

I have a couple older return pumps around, but I don't think they compete with the 1100 GPH I currently have. 

I looked into GFCI outlets, but in the past I thought you had to rewire the breaker box. It has always been difficult to do such a thing in a rental home, but after looking around, maybe you can avoid the rewiring. Did you install your own GFCI and arc interrupter? 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Flashy Fins said:

I love how it all started...  Finding a deal on one thing that required buying several other things to make use of the first item - this is how we fall into the trap! :laugh:

Pretty sweet set-up, Miles. 

It sure is a trap. Even when I was at Home Depot, I had many moments when I paused and had to think if I really needed what was in my hand. It's too easy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, milesmiles902 said:

I have a couple older return pumps around, but I don't think they compete with the 1100 GPH I currently have. 

I looked into GFCI outlets, but in the past I thought you had to rewire the breaker box. It has always been difficult to do such a thing in a rental home, but after looking around, maybe you can avoid the rewiring. Did you install your own GFCI and arc interrupter? 

 

 

 

These work great:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Defiant-Plug-In-GFCI-Adapter-3-Wire-Grounding-30339036/203741464

12 bucks, and they just plug into the wall.

Be sure to get one that resets after a power outtage, this one does.  

The test is simple:

1) Plug it in, make sure it is on.

2) Unplug it

3) Plug it in, make sure it is on

 

Surprisingly some of the gfci outlets will not pass this test, very bad for reef!  Very good for safety if you are a contractor and tools are plugged in... 

I do run arc fault interruptors...  because of this:

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Flashy Fins said:

I love how it all started...  Finding a deal on one thing that required buying several other things to make use of the first item - this is how we fall into the trap! :laugh:

Pretty sweet set-up, Miles. 

Haha - ain't that the truth!  Nothing like "bargain shopping" to get you to drop a ton of cash... especially in this hobby!  Been tempted so many times but I can't fit anything else in our dinning room so that holds me back.  Really would be cool to have a combined system like this though from an efficiency perspective.  Then I would also have more room for all the things I keep bringing home from Holly's!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, TheClark said:

These work great:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Defiant-Plug-In-GFCI-Adapter-3-Wire-Grounding-30339036/203741464

12 bucks, and they just plug into the wall.

Be sure to get one that resets after a power outtage, this one does.  

The test is simple:

1) Plug it in, make sure it is on.

2) Unplug it

3) Plug it in, make sure it is on

 

Surprisingly some of the gfci outlets will not pass this test, very bad for reef!  Very good for safety if you are a contractor and tools are plugged in... 

I do run arc fault interruptors...  because of this:

 

 

Alrighty. I'll grab one this week. It is a cheap life-saver. Literally.

My breaker box is exactly right behind my aquarium outlet. Maybe it won't be too hard. Did you get an electrician to do your arc fault receptor?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, milesmiles902 said:

I have a couple older return pumps around, but I don't think they compete with the 1100 GPH I currently have. 

I looked into GFCI outlets, but in the past I thought you had to rewire the breaker box. It has always been difficult to do such a thing in a rental home, but after looking around, maybe you can avoid the rewiring. Did you install your own GFCI and arc interrupter? 

 

 

 

Shouldn't have to rewire anything (other than the outlet) as long as you have a grounded circuit - which absolutely should be the case in any newer construction.  I actually wired a couple of GFCI duplex outlets into my stand because it ended up covering the wall outlets once in place and I would have had a hell of a time getting back there to reset them if they tripped (hole say time)!  Worked out great which, sadly, I discovered when my refugium flooded the stand due to a leaky seam and I stuck my hand under there in the dark to see what was wrong.  Thankfully the outlets had tripped!  I also have a grounding probe in the tank just in case...

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Emerald525 said:

Very nice! We have the exact same tank my stand is just higher!

Well, I have to say you need to make sure you get yourself a GFCI outlet. Remember, safety first. I just got home and plugged in a new GFCI outlet and it tripped. Crazy people don't have them. Don't be a crazy person!

TheClark probably saved my life. +1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, milesmiles902 said:

Well, I have to say you need to make sure you get yourself a GFCI outlet. Remember, safety first. I just got home and plugged in a new GFCI outlet and it tripped. Crazy people don't have them. Don't be a crazy person!

TheClark probably saved my life. +1

TheClark - not just for IT anymore!  Spreading the GFCI love across PNWMAS.  Glad it saved your bacon Miles!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, milesmiles902 said:

Well, I have to say you need to make sure you get yourself a GFCI outlet. Remember, safety first. I just got home and plugged in a new GFCI outlet and it tripped. Crazy people don't have them. Don't be a crazy person!

TheClark probably saved my life. +1

Funny you mention that Miles. I had a gfci outlet put in and it tripped. There is corrosion on one of the bulbs from the Tek light. Bummer I can't get it going but better than a fire!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Emerald525 said:

Funny you mention that Miles. I had a gfci outlet put in and it tripped. There is corrosion on one of the bulbs from the Tek light. Bummer I can't get it going but better than a fire!

I am sorry to hear that you had a similar situation. I bet you can clean the Tek light.

I found out what mine was...the heaters. Once I added a clip to keep the head out of the water, nothing tripped. Glad I am enough of a pack rat to be able to find them. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, milesmiles902 said:

I am sorry to hear that you had a similar situation. I bet you can clean the Tek light.

I found out what mine was...the heaters. Once I added a clip to keep the head out of the water, nothing tripped. Glad I am enough of a pack rat to be able to find them. :)

I could but I don't like that they don't have splash guards like the atis. I will make you a good deal on this one!?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, spectra said:

Looks great Miles but the feet :shock: 

 

I think we need a photo taking session at the next meeting :popcorn:

It's funny you say that because I actually removed four photos because they some type feet or leg action in them. 

If you're interested, here was my favorite leg shot. Right after I finished setting everything up.

Leg Shot.jpg

You can even see the kill switch in the front of the aquarium in case something bad happened.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...