"Our 55Gal Reef Tank"

Last Updated 05-22-04

This is Kim and I's pet project. We intend to create a marine reef ecosystem stable enough to sustain sea horses! Along with criters such as sand dollars, shrimp, starfish, and living rock! (among countless other things!) I'll update with any significant changes as they occur! Just so you know, the pictures don't do it justice!

Taken: 05-20-04 "The Tank"
Yes I know it's been a long time since I have posted on here. Sorry about that. I have however, just recently joined a local online community here called: http://www.yourreeftank.com/ They have been super nice, and helpful! I hope to become an active member of the thier community.

The system has been growing every so slowly, but the nitrate levels seem to be consistantly around 20ppm. :-(
So I'm tracking down how to minimize them. I added a Backpack Protein Skimmer, and a "Miricle Mud" Refugium since last September. So currently the issue is the red algea i'm seeing on the DSB, and rock. As well as attempting to reduce and stabilize the nitrates. I won't talk about the Monster Gorilla Crab, and Mantis Shrimp.( yeah, thanks btw Tampa Bay Saltwater! )
Just a shot of the 9 month old Reef Tank as it lives today!

Another shot of the infant tank. Notice the de-nitrate and de-phosphate jugs! :-(

My leather, he sure is a happy little guy isn't he?

Feed me Seymour!

Yeah, I have a little problem here. I'm kind of bummed about it.

So what would you call this? Deep Sand Bed? or Shallow? It's made up of Tampa Bay Live Sand. And recently, shell bits, and crushed coral that happen naturally.

Taken: 09-03-03 "Living Room In-Progress"

Finally! I have broken down, and introduced water to the system! Just tap water for now, so I can work out the flow, and check the wet/dry out. I'll clean up all those wires and tubes before my wife sees it I promise!! Seeing it actually in action causes me to re-think my earlier Skimmer designs. I am thinking of just purchasing a BackPack Skimmer. I'm still researching if some of those alternative Skimmer designs are something I should use. I still haven't found anyone who knows how this overflow wet/dry sump system is supposed to actually work. But with the latest observations, I think I actually need to put the skimmer in chamber: C as seen in FIG.07. Perhaps Chamber D is a place to store carbon and the like. I'm still trying to figure it out. With the BackPack Skimmer I think I can bypass the whole system altogether. (i'd rather not... i'd rather use it as it was intended). I'm just willing to risk the stability of the tank with guesswork, and under Skimming. I'm open to advice. If I did decide to build a Skimmer (about 25% likely) I'm looking into a square reaction chamber, and a round collection cup. Any designs as such that you've seen.. don't hesitate to send them to me. I've dropped in the 3 Rio 800 powerheads into the tank. When I start to stock the tank i'll worry about the intank vs. livestock problems.

FIG.08 -- Water in the System.

The latest update finishes off the cosmetics of the tank. We were able to build the canopy lids out of Acrylic sheeting and couple of black drawer pulls. (worked nicely) Now i'm at the stage i've been dreading. The integration of a protein skimmer into the custom back sump. Because I purchased the tank used, and the previous owner had purchased the tank used... It's lost it's protein skimmer during all the transactions. What I've been attempting to do is backwards engineer the sump system, to maximize efficiency.. as it was designed. To my best guess, this is the flow and approximated water levels for each chamber.

FIG.07 -- Back Sump Flow Chart.

If anyone has any experience with this sort of system please don't hesitate to contact me at: jdates@kungfukoi.com. In the meanwhile, my plan is to design and install what to my guess, is the proper integration of a protein skimmer. To my best guess, it sits on the circular componenet in the fourth chamber from the left. The flow pushes the water down, up and over onto the bio-balls.

FIG.06 -- Back Sump.

FIG.05 -- 75 Gpd R/O Water filter installed!.

FIG.04 -- 3.5 Gal R/O Resovoir installed!.

8-18-03 : New "Moonlight/Actnic/Daylight" System turned on. - It has 2 timers set for it's 3 light cycles. At 6am, the Actinic lights come on. At 7am, the 10k Daylights turn on. 9pm the 10k Daylights turn off. 10pm the Actinic turn off. EVENING: the "moonlight" stays on for the duration. It's really a nice viewing light, and allows you to enjoy the nightlife! (So I hear, I'll keep you posted.)

8-18-03 : Purchased the new "Moonlight." -

8-18-03 : Purchased the 55Gal backflow sump Acrylic Tank! Got stand separately!." -

Our reef tanks...