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Last Updated.
May 2007.


System Design (Page 2 of 2) <<< Previous


When getting the tank built the overflow boxes where installed pictured below.

My concerns with these are whether they would be able to deal with the required water flow and also how quiet they would be. They also seemed to intrude too much into the tank.

Image of old overflows
External durso

When the tank was in place, I realised that there was a lot of space behind the tank. So I came up with the idea to install hanging boxes on the outside of the tank. Contained within these boxes are durso stand pipes to take the water down to the sump. Water will be transferred from the tank to the boxes via the original holes. The boxes are made out of 6mm acrylic.

I left one of the original weir boxes in place to take out surface scum and the other pictured above I made a strainer out of a 50mm round grate. 50/40mm reducer.



Closed Loop Design

Image of closed loop tank connectors Water is taken from the tank via two 40mm tank connectors.

40mm rigid pipe then takes the water down to the Sequence 15000 pump. Each side of the pump will have ball valves to aid maintenance of the pump if needed. Water is then returned back to the tank using 40mm rigid pipe via three ball valves. The ball valves control waterflow to the front, back and under rock outlets. I have also installed a ball valve here to allow air to escape when priming the pump.

<picture of outlet control>

The front and back pipes have 4 nozzles. The nozzles are simply a T piece with 45° bends. I didn't glue the 45° bends in place, so that they can be rotated to the desired position.

<picture of front back nozzles>

The under rock outlet is simply a straight tube with ? holes drilled. The rock is held over the pipework using a box structure made from acrylic sides and egg crate on top.

<picture of rock outlet box>


I intend to use a 'Berlin Type' system i.e. Large amounts of live rock within the main tank, heavy organic removal (protein skimmer). Also in the sump I am incorporating a deep sand bed (DSB).

Protein Skimmer

My intention is to use a Deltec AP851 protein skimmer. The skimmer requires a waterflow of 1000 lph (222 gph), so I will be using a Eheim 1250. The pressure side of the pump is fed to the DSB, whilst the suction is taken from the first chamber. The pump will situated outside the sump. The skimmer will be plumbed in using rigid pipework. On the pressure side the pipework is 25mm, on the suction side the pipework is 32mm.

Calcium Reactor

My intention will be to install Korallin 1501 calcium reactor. Should this not provide adequate calcium, my intention will be to install a Ratz Kalk Stirrer. This will be fed with an Aquadoser variable speed dosing pump.

Phosphate Reactor

To remove phosphates, a Deltec FR509 phosphate reactor will be installed. The required flow rate for this reactor is up to 500lph. Water for this device will be taken from the sump and returned to the sump using an Eheim 1048 pump. The pump will take water from the first chamber of the sump. This pump has a flow rate of 600lph, connections for suction & pressure side of the pump are 13mm (1/2").


My intention is to have 3 separate metal halide (MH) units together with two T5 Actinic tubes. I have decided to use Lumenarc III reflectors, Reeflux 250W 10K lamps and Icecap Electronic Ballasts.

The lights will be housed in a closed in cupboard above the tank. The lights will be attached to a frame which can be lowered and raised. This will be documented in the DIY Projects section.

When using MH units, you need to think about the heat given off from the lamps and the ballasts. I intend to minimise the heat from the ballasts by situating them under the floor in a adjoining room away from the tank. Hot air will be removed from the closed in cupboard using 4" ducting and a powerful fan. This hot air will be vented outside the house. The fan will be controlled by Aquatronica using a temperature sensor in the cupboard.


The problem with coolers are that they are heat exchanges and will take heat from the tank and radiate heat into the surrounding air. Now if the cooler is situated in the same room as the aquarium, the cooler takes heat from the water in the tank. Exchanges this heat into the surrounding air. This air in turn heats the tank water, so the cooler works overtime! Additionally they will also make the room where the cooler is situated uncomfortable warm. With this in mind I am situating the cooler outside in a lean to shed against the wall of the house. The heat radiating from cooler will also aid in keeping the inside of the shed and my reservoirs warm. Anyway that's the theory!

My intention is to use a Aqua Medic Titan 1500 chiller. Water for the device will be taken from the main tank and return to the main tank. The connectors on the unit are 25mm (hard) or 19/27mm (flexi), needed water flow is 800-2500 lph. Water will be pumped to the chiller by an Eheim 1260 pump. This has a 2400lph flow rate. The connectors are suction 25/34mm (1") pressure 16/22mm (3/4"). After going through the chiller the water is returned to the main tank.

Diagram of Chiller circuit

Suction for the pump is taken from a 43mm hole drilled in the main tank which accepts a 32mm bulkhead fitting. 32mm rigid pipe then takes water to the pump. This will not be directly connected to pump, I will be installing ball valves either sides of the pump. This is to aid any maintenance of the pump that might occur. Also you should not connect rigid pipes directly to pumps due to the vibration of the pumps. So a hose tail will be installed together with flexible tubing direct to the pump. I will be using a 40mm Ball valve (Please note that you need to go one size up, as a 40mm ball valve will have 32mm through the centre. If you use a 32mm ball valve, it will have a 25mm diameter through the centre and restrict the flow). To connect the ball valve to the rigid pipe a 40mm to 32mm reducer will need to be used

I will be using 25mm rigid tubing on the pressure side of the pump, again with a horsetail with flexible hosing,32mm ball valve (25mm diameter through centre) and 32mm to 25mm reducer. 25mm rigid pipe will then be connected directly to the chiller. Again to aid any maintenance a 32mm ball valve (with reducers) will be installed either side of the chiller. The pipework will then take water back to the main tank. The water enters the tank via a 25mm bulkhead fitting. To accept this the tank needs to be drilled with a 34mm hole.

Before returning to the tank, to aid priming of the pump, the return pipe will have a T piece with one of the branches having a ball valve.

Auto Top

I have designed and built and electronic controller, this can be found on DIY Projects Page. I am building a small lean to shed against the house. This will be situated within about six foot of the tank. The shed will house a 100Litre reservoir which will be filled with Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. Additionally, there will also be a 200Litre reservoir plumbed in for water changes. The controller manages a pump situated in RO reservoir providing water to the sump. The controller senses the water level by a float switch situated in the sump.

Remote Shed

The shed will house the cooler, 100 Litre RO water reservoir, 200 Litre saltwater changing reservoir. The 2 reservoirs will have heaters placed in them. This will have the effect of have 2 large radiators in the shed. The cooler will also be vented into the shed. The shed itself will be lined with 2" thick installation, white thick polystyrene which has silver foil stuck to the sides. If necessary I will also lag the reservoirs with central heating cylinder installation jackets.

I do not believe that I will have problem with heating in the winter. But if after monitoring a heater will be installed as necessary. My major concern is that the inside the shed will become too hot in the summer. I will be fitting a temperature controlled extraction fan in the shed. This will be documented in the DIY Projects Page.

Automatic Water Changing

I wanted to make the water changing as easy as possible, so that way I will do it! So my intention is to have a 200 litre reservoir in the remote shed. This will be fed with RO water by the controller found in the DIY Projects Page. Due to the nature of my house (built on a slope), the shed will be sited below the level of the tank. With this in mind I have chosen to change the water using an overflow method.

The water will be mixed with salt and heated to the required parameters. Then once ready it will be transferred via a pump situated submerged in the reservoir back to the tank. The pump I will be using is a Eheim 1260 with a flow rate of 2400lph. Connectors are suction 25/34mm (1"), pressure 16/22mm (3/4").

The overflows in the main tank will have ball valves and one of the overflows will also have a T junction. This T junction will be connected to the sump and waste.

The procedure to change water will be to shut off one of the sump-to-tank pumps. Shut the ball valve without the T junction. This overflow will then fill with water. Switch off the remaining sump-to-tank pumps and allow the water to settle. Close the ball valve below the T junction, and then open the ball valve to waste. Start the pump in the reservoir. Water will then enter the tank and any excess will overflow to waste.

I will be installing two float switches in the reservoir. One of which will be installed in the bottom to cut out the pump so that the pump will not run dry. The position of this switch will be for a water change of approximately 20%. There will also be an additional float switch half way up the reservoir, to detect the water level for a 10% change. The pump/float switches will be controlled via a switch for a 10%/20% change using a controller found in the DIY Projects Page. The idea of the controller is that I can start the water change, and leave it without continually monitoring.

Additionally I will be installing a T junction above the reservoir (returning some of the water back to the reservoir) to control the speed of the water change.

Once the water in the reservoir has been pumped into the tank, the reservoir pump is stopped. The waste ball valve is closed and both ball valve to the sump are opened. Both sump-to-tank pumps are then started. Almost exactly the same volume of water will be replaced, without having to drop the level of the water in tank. However a small amount of extra water will enter the tank. This is the volume of water contained between the top of the ball valve and and bottom of the T junction.

Water changing diagram

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