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Looking for advice planning

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While I realize this isn't a saltwater forum I think the same principles apply.

Here is what I'm looking to build and hoping some of the experts could give advice.

Setup:
4 - 6: 40g breeders 2-3 on each rack
One large sump/refugium connecting them all together

All of the tanks and sump will be on the same wall in a concrete slab basement

So here is where I need advice.

1. Drilling tanks : how difficult is it
2. Plumbing: I have experience using PVC and cementing it together but I have no idea about width of pipes for intake and drain
3. Stand design: I'd like to use wood but want to make sure it's going to hold the weight and also hold up to up top salt water tanks

I'm sure I'm missing something but that info would get me started. I appreciate all advice in advance. I've never had a setup like this but it's a dream in the making. :)
 

DiscusnAfricans

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If your membership is current, there will be some glass drilling going on at the summer picnic on saturday. You could watch and/or pick people's brains who've drilled tanks in the past.

I'm sure there are people you could talk to about plumbing as well, I have no practical advice to offer.

Wood stands would be fine for racks, I have 2 that hold 3-40 breeders without issue. As far as standing up to saltwater, sealing the wood with a varnish, urethane, or primer should be enough to keep them protected for many years.
 

littlen

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Nick,

Some vague answers to get you started.

1. Drilling it easy, once you know how to do it. I wouldn't recommend your system tanks be the first ones you try as it will be an expensive learning curve should you [easily] mess up and crack a pane of glass. Get an old 10gal and practice. Thinner glass is less forgiving so an old 10 is perfect. But like driving a car, until you know how to do it, it can be intimidating. As suggested above, you could possibly get some assistance at the picnic. The glass drill bits go through glass much slower than a hole saw made for wood. You need a constant, slow supply of water over the area where you're drilling.

2. A basic rule for plumbing a system; you want bigger pipes going out (aka, "Returns") back to the sump. For instance, I have 2" returns and 1" supply on my 150. As you dig deeper into your plans, you'll figure out how much flow and turnover you want for each tank. That'll guide you to what size pump you need....and subsequently what size piping would work best. Ballpark?...you might be able to work with 1.5" returns and 3/4" supplies.

3. There are loads of DIY wooden stand designs. Sky is the limit. As Michael suggested, salt creep can really eat up wood. Keep that in mind. I'd also recommend some sort of footer or pad to set the legs or base of the stand on so any spilled water wouldn't absorb into the legs and stay there for a while.

Good luck. Sounds like a fun project.

Other Nick
 
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Update: I've picked up a stock tank for free (got really lucky) and will be picking up the tanks from Petco Saturday. Here is what the plan looks like going forward at this point. I've done research and going to go with 1.5" drains and 3/4" returns. Stands will be be wood but painted and sealed. Still doing research on equipment since I've been out of the hobby for awhile.

If anyone is an expert tank driller and wants to supervise / assist a drilling padawan let me know! (Only 4 holes)

diagram.png
 

littlen

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A suggestion; I'd pull up the carpeting under the system. You will inevitably spill water and it will wick itself under the system where it can harbor mold.

Are you intending on having the 3/4" supply lines go up/over the rims of the tank? I personally like mine inside the tank (which requires an extra drilled hole) but this is your project. There is no right or wrong, just a preference.

Depending on pump size & flow, you could Tee off of your supply line from your pump and do lots of great LSS/filtration type things in your 150 sump. You could supply a UV sterilizer, a bio tower, a carbon filter.... Lots of beneficial options. Looks like a really fun project.

(What inhabitants are you planning on stocking?)
 
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Yea the plan is to do two returns over the top per tank. If i was more comfortable drilling, I'd put them inside but as it stands I'd rather drill 4 holes instead of 12. It's going to be a coral propagation/reef setup. (I know this is a freshwater forum....bad me bad). Plan is to divide up types of corals into 4 groups depending on lighting intensity requirement. Fish wise is up in the air... Mandarin is a definite down the road, but i'm still working through all the stand building, plumbing, and drilling before i move on mentally to livestock.
 
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Picked up the four 40g breeders on the last day of the $1 a gallon sale. Still on the hunt for a tank drilling expert to give me a hand. I have the drill, tanks and will be ordering the bits. Just would prefer someone with experience to assist. Cant offer up any livestock for barter of labor but can pay in alcohol.
 
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