No announcement yet.

180g Tank Design and Setup Ideas

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 180g Tank Design and Setup Ideas

    I started this thread to discuss the upcoming build of our 180g mixed reef for when we buy a house (hopefully in the next month or two). Obviously the house must be chosen based on the ability to setup and maintain the reef tank

    The current display is 75 gallons, but all of the filtration equipment was designed to support a 200g size aquarium.

    We am purchasing a 180 gallon un-drilled tank to start with.

    I am planning to have 3 holes drilled.
    Two 2" drains and One 1.5" feed for a closed loop.
    I plan on running all of the returns over the back instead of drilling bulkheads.

    See this thread for previous comments on this topic:

    Originally posted by Hollback View Post
    I would highly suggest 1 - 2" drain and 1" return. IMO 2 - 1" drains are not very safe.
    Hollback, I assume you mean dangerous in case one was blocked, the other could not handle enough flow to keep up with the return.

    Originally posted by Shark keeper View Post
    I will have my tank drilled next weekend and I am going with two 1.5" drains on my 180. My return will be a Pan World 200PS that I have had sitting in the basement for awhile. I will be starting a thread soon that will detail my build since I just cut all of the pieces for my stand and will start to assemble it tomorrow....
    Shark Keeper, how did you decide on 1.5" drains? I was talking to Aaron and he brought up the point, that having larger than needed is not a problem, but if they are too small, it is very hard to make them bigger.
    I suggested 2 1.5" and he said he would do 2" himself.

    I am thinking 1.5" for the closed loop, since the pump I want to use has 1.5" in and out.
    I was concerned about running the feed for the closed loop over the rim in case it ran dry. I was planning to put the closed loop feed about 2 inches lower than the drains and located in the center of the tank.
    This would ensure the water lever could not drop enough to suck air into the closed loop, even if the return was shut off and the elbow fell out of the drain bulkhead.

    I am excited about having the option to do it the way I want it, but I want to make sure it is a sound design too. I welcome comments and criticism and please provide your reasoning as well.


  • #2

    I decided to use the 1.5" drains from past experience on other tanks. I would say that it is personal preference once you get to 1.5" or above. The bigger the better I have heard and do agree but I chose to stick with what I am used to.

    Now as for my closed loop I did not want to drill the tank for that drain since I am prone to upgrades (third tank in less then three years) so I have decided to run a Oceans Motion with the drain being pvc over the top of the tank. Also I don't feel that you should worry about it running dry because once it's primed it should not be any problem unless you loose a major amount of water or do a huge water change below the drain that you install. I got most of my ideas about my closed loop from Melev's forum on RC then modified it to what I had in mind.

    Hope this helps and made sense....


    • #3
      Thanks for the comments, males sense.
      What size tanks do you have experience with using 1.5" drains?

      I plan to run a Reeflo Barracuda for the return against 12-14 feet of head. This will result in 1200-2000gph.

      I want either drain to be large enough to accommodate the entire flow by itself.

      I found this information to be helpful:
      Flow rates of different sized pipes can be calculated by using the formula for the area of a circle: A= π*r2. Using this formula, it can be determined that the opening of a two-inch pipe is about 3.14 square inches (3.14 x 1.0 (1x1) = 3.14). So, in theory, a single 2 pipe has exactly the same area as four 1" pipes (3.14 x 0.25 (0.5 x 0.5) = 0.78), and therefore could easily handle 3400 gallons of water per hour. In practice, the capacity of four 1 pipes is significantly lower than the capacity of one 2 pipe because the friction, i.e., water resistance, in the pipes with the smaller diameters is much higher.

      Based on this information a 1.5" drain could handle the flow I expect, I may go with 2 x 1.5" because the Hole Drill I have is 2" (for drilling through the floor).

      I am also considering combining the two pipes into a single 3" or 4" pipe once they pass through the floor to further reduce drag\friction.


      • #4
        I have one two inch drain on my cube. It is running with a dart 3600 gph


        • #5
          Well it actually has two 2" drains, but one is only as a backup (slightly higher) and has never been needed...

          EIther 2" or 1.5" will be fine, if you're running two drains you won't have any problems, my two drains on my 180 were plumbed to flexible hosing 1.25", and they only ran at 3/4 capacity with over 3000 actual GPH, and they had several bends which vastly limited flow compared to pvc, think about plumbing in ball valves so you can adjust flow through each drain if needed....


          • #6
            Originally posted by MarineFishGuy View Post
            Obviously the house must be chosen based on the ability to setup and maintain the reef tank
            Indeed! My family is looking at houses too. My first stop is always the basement to inspect the floor boards under "the Spot".

            A closed loop is a system that takes the place of powerheads in the tank right? Are you considering doing this because it is easier to create waves with a switching current water director?

            If you had a big enough pump(s), would it be possible to run the return from the sump through 2 scwd's and have 4 returns in the tank to eliminate the need for a closed loop or powerheads?


            • #7
              The problem you run into there is the amount of overflow not being able to sustain the water being pumped out of the sump. Hence the closed loop idea. You could run a closed loop to that same pump, and run your scwd's, and not adversely effect the flow of the sump. I suppose it could be done with the right overflow boxes... probably have to be custom jobs, but the standard overflow kits wouldn't support nearly that kind of turnover.


              • #8
                Originally posted by BioNube View Post
                Indeed! My family is looking at houses too. My first stop is always the basement to inspect the floor boards under "the Spot".

                A closed loop is a system that takes the place of powerheads in the tank right? Are you considering doing this because it is easier to create waves with a switching current water director?

                If you had a big enough pump(s), would it be possible to run the return from the sump through 2 scwd's and have 4 returns in the tank to eliminate the need for a closed loop or powerheads?
                Ideally you want the tank to cross as many floor joists as possible, not run parallel with them. If it is on a Load bearing wall all the better. Otherwise reinforcements may be in order for larger tanks.

                Yes a closed loop takes water from the tank and recirculates it back into the system without going through the sump. In principle it replaces power heads.
                Depending on your choice of powerhead, you may have less control over water movement with a closed loop.
                An Ocean motions 4 or 8 way can be used to alternate flow to different nozzles, but it is locked in by the choice of Drum.
                For Comparison, Tunze 6100/6200 pumps with a controller have more fine grained control over their output. Especially if you use something like an Aquasurf (Requires a AC jr, AC III, or AC Pro main unit).
                For water movement it really boils down to personal preference and what you are trying to achieve. If you want waves, then Tunze/Aquasurf or a Tunze Wavebox is the best choice. However a Closed loop can create very random flow which is good too.

                To use something like a SCWD you would want a pressure rated pump. Depending on the amount of Head pressure this could become very expensive. Personally I would do two separate pumps for a couple of reasons.
                I would not want to lose all of my flow if the pump failed.
                Having two pumps means more control over flow rates with less plumbing/valves.
                If you are already putting the sump in the basement, you can plan for about 14 feet of head or more for the return, assuming no restrictions. A non-pressure rated pump to do this for a 180g will cost in the range of $250-$400 (new).


                • #9
                  I would stay away from that idea. I have read that you do not want that much flow to go through your sump. You also run a higher risk of your pump running dry. In a closed loop you wont have that problem unless you drain the tank below your intake.


                  • #10
                    SHMax brings up a good point.

                    For in tank circulation people talk about turn over rates of 25 (average)-75x (high flow).
                    For a 180g tank that means 4,500-13,500gph.
                    When you account for flow loss due to head pressure (using the return pump) and the ability of an overflow to handle the volume, those numbers would be impossible to achieve.

                    The Reeflo Barracuda I plan on using is rated for 4200gph at 0 ft head. Typically a closed loop has 0 head because it is all at the same level of the tank (or close to it).

                    If I were to use that pump for my closed loop, I could get 23x turnover per hour.

                    My Tunze 6100 is rated for about 3000gph. With 2 Tunze Power Heads I can get more flow than a closed loop and consume less power, plus have more fine grained control.

                    Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback, this is very helpful.
                    Last edited by MarineFishGuy; 03-29-2008, 11:07 AM. Reason: Thank you added.


                    • #11
                      I don't know if you looked at what I was running in my 125, but I went with a closed loop system, with a mag 2400 running 5 feet of loc line branching from the center. I get really good flow from it, and I also added 2 koralia 4's in the tank on alternating current. With them all running I'm turning 6000 gallons per hour. I really like the loc line, because I can face the nozzles back behind the LR, and force water into all the nooks and crannies that way. I probably would have went with a wavebox... but I don't like how they look in the tank. Once they figure out a way to do the same thing without that bulky piece of equipment being seen in the tank, I'm all in.


                      • #12
                        I read a thread on Reef Central where people were using a single 6100 and an Aquasurf to create 1-2" waves in a tank.
                        From what I read, the key is matching the pulse rate to the tank dimensions.
                        The Aquasurf allows control of the pump down to 0.1 second increments. In addition you can run multiple programs throughout the day/night for chaotic flow and random flow.

                        There have been some issues with switching programs, but they offer a lot of code samples throughout this thread.


                        • #13
                          As luck would have it, the house we are interested in has the floor joists running parallel with the tank. The stand would sit on two joists (16" on center where stand = 24" width).
                          It would be positioned 2 feet from the exterior wall and about 4 feet from the central house I beam. There is a staircase to the basement behind it to provide some vertical support.

                          Considering the Tank and equipment will likely weigh about 1500-1800lbs, I am interested in adding some additional floor support.
                          My plan is to sandwich a second 2x8 up to the existing floor joist and bolt them together. Then place a Floor Jack underneath the joist in the center of the tank.
                          Then I would cut some additional 2x8 and cross brace the joists to the next floor joist on either side to provide lateral stability.

                          The plumbing will need to run the length of one of the joists so I will need to drill holes in the cross bracing.
                          From the sump to the tank the plumbing would be:
                          7' Vertical rise
                          12' horizontal run
                          5' Vertical rise to tank rim

                          I plan to use Spaflex in the corners to minimize head loss. Based on this, I calculate my head pressure at 14'.
                          With the Reeflo Barracuda, that would mean 1200-1500gph.

                          My main concern is properly securing the floor to avoid floor sag.

                          The other issue is what material to use for the flooring.
                          Currently it is carpeted, but it needs replaced.
                          We are considering replacing it with a thin carpet pad and a short pile carpet.
                          The other option we have considered is wood flooring.
                          What is everyones' tank sitting on? If you had it to do over again, would you do it the same way or use something different and why?

                          Thanks for taking the time to read this and respond

                          Ken and Deb


                          • #14
                            depending on who is going to drill your tank, of the two places i have had tanks drilled, neither has a 2" drill, biggest is 1.5" unless you locate one somewhere else. but with the flow rate you are talking about, i dont think 2" would be necessary. barracuda pumps are not really designed to pump a lot of head, explaining why you are losing so much flow. you might consider a decent size pressure rated pump. i use an aqua-euro model 70 pressure rated pump for my 265 return with two 1.5" drains and i am happy with the flow. i have about 13' of vert. head and anout 15' of horizontal. much cheaper pump, using 1" plumbing is cheaper than running 1.5" up for the return as well. the barracuda would be much better used as a closed loop.


                            • #15
                              Since the hole drill I have (for the floor) is a 2" diameter, I will likely go with 1.5" bulkheads.
                              I just heard that this month's topic is drilling tanks. They said they would have three size drills and one was a 1.5". I am not sure if that meant to fit 1.5" bulkheads or a 1.5" hole.
                              At this point I think we will likely drill three 1.5" Bulkheads (two drains and one for a future closed loop).

                              If the Barracuda does not provide enough flow, I plan to use it for a closed loop and install a new return pump. I have a lead on a used one.
                              Where did you get the aqua-euro model 70?

                              I plan to run 1.5" return line up to the tank and then add a manifold where it is reduced to 2 3/4" returns with ball valves plumbed into Locline. although this is subject to change as this project progresses.

                              I also have a couple Penductors I could use if I get a pressure rated pump.