Jump to content

Thoughts about my future tank


Recommended Posts

I started, but did not finish, a 20 ish gallon tank.  I started this build over 10 years ago but life got busy with kids, family, work, etc.   I can see that I will want to finish this build in the next couple of years.

 I believe that the tank is 16" high, 16" wide, and 22 inches long.   I was going to put a false wall in the tank so that I can have a sump on the back that housed the main pump and some extra live rock.   I was also going to have a lighted refugium located (reverse time of the main tank) above the main tank where I would focus on trying to grow mysid shrimp,  macro algae, etc and let them go over the overflow naturally to help feed the small tank.   I have two peltier chillers and a heater and a controller to maintain temperature.   There is a flange around the top of the tank, but I tried to make it small enough that most of the features in the tank can be observed from above.

I made my own lighting.  I have a 150W HQI bulb, two 24W actinic compact fluorescent bulbs, and two incandescent blue bulbs for moon light.   I originally built my ballast box (which housed the HQI and CF ballasts) with X10 modules to program a lighting ramp and moon light variation.   Of course, I ran out of memory on the X10 modules and never really got it working right.   The HQI, actinics, moon bulbs are in a single hood that I will hang about 18" above the tank.   I plan on ditching the X10 modules and run separate cords for the HQI, CF's, and moon bulbs.

I am totally out of date on the latest tank set up, but this is my thoughts.   Can you please provide some input?

1.  I would have about 1" of fine sand on the bottom of the main tank for aesthetic purposes.

2.  I would build my rock structure with PVC piping.   I would actually drill holes in the piping so that the return water would jet through these holes.   I would also have one small water exhaust near the water line to keep the surface agitated.   I was going to use an Eheim 600 for this purpose.

3.  I would have two small power heads on a timer to vary the lower water current from left to right.

4.  I would hang a skimmer on the end of the tank next to the peltier chillers.

5.  I would have calcium addition via my make up water.   I don't want a calcium reactor.

6.  I am thinking about doing 2 gallon water changes every two weeks.

Now for the question:

a.  What is an appropriate skimmer for my purpose?  I want it to be quiet as possible.

b.  Is there a simple controller available now to provide the lighting changes including a possible lunar cycle?  I was thinking of having my actinics come on around 9 am, HQI around 10:30 am, HQI off around 9 pm and actinics off around 9:30 pm.

c.  Is there anything else I should think about?


I would like to have this primarily a large polyp and small polyp coral tank with some zoa's and maybe a few very colorful mushrooms.  I want only 1-2 fish - maybe a set of Banghi  cardinal fish or two clowns and maybe a shrimp and the obligatory clean up crew.

This tank probably won't be built for a couple of years, but I want to get up to speed on the latest advents in this hobby an potentially pick up the equipment when it comes up for a good price.


Any thoughts?



P.S.  I have to get 22 more posts before I can start to post on the classified!   I have stuff left over from my larger tanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have any pics of this planned setup? Is a sump out of the question?

for your questions:

a. One of the better HOB skimmers most people use is the Aquamaxx HOB-1.5. I ask about a sump because most sump based skimmers will outperform HOB skimmers.

b. You are looking more or less for a light timer from the sounds of it. These days there are cheap WiFi power strips ($20-60) that can do that. Check Amazon. A real aquarium controller is going to be in the $500+ range new but will have more functionality (heat control, accessory control, dosing, etc).


c. Depending on the tank and how much you like it, always remember that basic tanks can be had for $1/gal at petco up to 30 gal and a 40B is $50. I only say that because your saying the setup is 10 years old so not sure how it’s condition has faired over the years. From experience, I would say to aim for the nicest tank you can afford (if you plan to keep it for a while) as tank swaps are difficult.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would also urge you to look at new lighting options (although since you built it yourself I understand being attached). Metal halides are great but incandescent and power compact aren't really used anymore and there are some good cheap led options out there (or you could diy some) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the replies.   Sorry about late on my reply.

I basically have all of the parts to make this work.  Some of the equipment I bought used but a lot of it is new and never seen water.  I think I will start to work on this slowly and have it done in a year or so.   I still have kids at home, work, have a gazillion home to-do's, etc. so this will be a slow go.  Plus, I have to set up my tools to cut the acrylic, flame polish the edges, etc., etc.  I have the main tank about 50% done.  I just have to add the divider wall and back compartments.   I originally wanted to have the tank sit on a basic sturdy piece of furniture and I would build a wooden enclosure so that the main viewing area of the tank would be visible.   The sump and top refugium would be within the wooden enclosure but accessible.   It's sort of hard to describe.

I have to find my original plans for the tank.   Upon thinking about this, I believe I had it sized for a Tunze in sump skimmer.   Do you have a suggestion for the latest nano, in sump skimmer?

I agree, the CF's are obsolete as are the incandescent bulbs.   I can change these.   It would be too bad to tear up the powder coating on the hood, but it can be done.

I found some old images of the hood, ballast box and basic drawing of the tank in it's current state and attached it.  Boy, the image quality really sucked 10+ years ago and I sized these for the BB's back then.

I agree, that this will be small, but I want to start small.   I can always get a larger tank in the future and then use this one as an office tank and have the larger tank in the family room or somewhere.   I have almost all of the stuff to make this work...I just want to finish it.







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.

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.


  • Create New...