My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

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My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 8th November 2012, 4:25 am



Hey guys, I was just hoping to get some feedback on the tank I plan to setup in the very near future. It will be mainly an anemone tank so I will build the reef around them but I also want a system that can handle a high bio load. I had this type of tank before but this time I want to focus on making this tank as natural of a system as possible that requires as little maintenance as possible in case I leave town and need someone to check on the tank.

My main concerns revolve around the filtration aspect so I would love some help figuring out what to do here. Also if anyone has experience with Aquariums R Us or Aquarium Warehouse custom tanks, I would love to hear about it.

The stock stands only look like they have about 18" of clearance so I might be stuck with a 12" tall stock sump tank. The plain stock stands are about $200 so maybe I can find someone to build me a taller one with a bit more clearance for a skimmer and to increase water volume.

I also had a DSB in my display, a 50G(~240L) sump full of live rock, lots of chaeto marco and an ok skimmer last time and the setup required surprisingly little maintenance as far as water changes, using carbon, etc went which was great!

This time I am going bare bottom in the display but still plan on using a skimmer, live rock and macro. If I can get a taller sump I might be able to put some sort of DSB in there but I like liquidg's idea of having a de-nitrification 'chamber' ( I think it had crushed coral of different sizes in the tube) but I am not sure how to add this without plumbing it in. Skimmer could also be plumbed in but I would rather not have to do this.

Mechanical Filter: The water will enter the sump and go through some sort of pre-filter sponge. I want a box or something that I can place pre-filter and carbon in but will allow the water to overflow out if the pre-filter gets clogged.

Skimmer: It would be rated for close to twice my water volume.

Macro: I love chaeto but it does not seem very common here like it was in the states but I would also like to try some varieties of racemosa that liquidg loves so much. Very Happy

Other System Specs

Tank: 4x2x18" tall - I may have to go with a stock tanks that is only 4x18x20.

Sump: 4x2x12" tall - I will put as big of a sump as I can fit under the tank.

Lighting: Probably start with 1 Kessil A350W and add another when I can afford it.

Chiller: Not sure yet but probably a new but cheaper brand from Guppys or something.

Flow: Will be enough to keep detritus from collecting on the bottom and give enough flow to anemones/corals depending on what type I end up with

I would love to have a tank full of blue and purple Gigantea carpet anemones but they look harder to get here than I thought so it may just be a tank full of RBTA's. I had a tank full of RBTA's mixed with lots of different corals (zoos, ricorida, lps, and some hardy sps) a few years back and I would love another tank like this.
Thanks for the help!


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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  liquidg on 8th November 2012, 10:44 am

Mate I canít see the most important part of the external bio filters chance to function well,pre filtering as the water leaves the tank?

Its impossible for bio filtering to work at its best with out this.

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 8th November 2012, 1:04 pm

Sorry liquidg, I'm a bit confused.

I will have a bunch of LR in the display for filtration as well. I thought I should use a fine pre-filter before water enters the sump to remove particular matter so it does not clog up the pours in all of my LR.

What would you recommend I do?

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  liquidg on 8th November 2012, 1:43 pm

A pre filter as the water leaves the tank will clean waters for in the tank and for the sump.

The flow will project particles to the barrier or they remain in the tank moving around blocking the live rock pores in the tank as well.

Firstly do you want the water to exit your tank by holes drilled in the base or the rear or end of your tank or via a scallop cut?

Then you need to decide on an exit box in the tank or on the tank.

In tank for the holes in floor exit, on tank for holes in wall exit, this one is best to work with!

A bulkhead in each hole, a ninety degree from each hole down wards behind the tank both on an angle to each other, this will help silence waters, then to be joined to a larger pipe.

On the end of that pvc pipe I would put a grey water flex pipe over the end and into your sump, with a section bent into a 180 degree to aim waters up to remove bubbles at the surface.

With anemones they have a habit of blocking exits so I would make a top to bottom removable mesh wall to keep them from the over flow and make a large surface area for them to try and block and be no trouble if they attach to it due to over all surface area of this mesh.

Netting over a wall of egg crate to slide in and out of plastic moulding glued in like a sliding door track.

The mesh, just tie it off at the back with fishing line to pull it tight on the front.

Another track right behind it with egg crate, but with this one you have a home made wall/sock type of barrier of Dacron to catch and pre filter for easy removal to clean or replace.

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  DeadSled on 8th November 2012, 2:48 pm

I didn't really read your entire post, was a bit long for my liking with not enough pictures to keep me interested.

Regardless, i agree with Liquidg on the pre filtering part (i also skim read his post, sorry man Laughing ).

I myself have used (i REALLY recommend this stuff, its so f**king pimp..) a glassholes overflow and return kit, so you can have a tiny overflow box in the top of your tank and do away with any big ass weirs that seem to be what people usually do, or a false wall. The overflow boxes are black acrylic and are practically invisible in the tank and also really save on space.

As far as the pre-filtering part, i used this kit for my sump.

Glass-Holes Berlin Sump Acrylic Mount With Filter Sock

I ended up actually mounting the mount outside / above the sump as opposed to hanging it inside the sump, only because i figured that if the water can overflow out of it with the sock submerged then it wouldn't end up filtering it. I've got it so the tip of the sock is actually above the water line so it requires the water to pass through the sock.

In previous sumps, i've tried a stocking, i've tried a stocking with some filter wool, and i've tried all sorts of crap ass filter foams and whatever other shit is available and even though my tank is only nearing the 3 week point, there is absolutely NOTHING getting past this filter sock. I'm absolutely stoked on how well it works. I clean it out every week or so, or when i notice the water level inside the sock is getting higher than it should be.. then you know it needs a clean.

I completely agree on pre filtering being an important part of your sump working to its full potential and that if you can filter the shit before it even hits your skimmer / macro algaes then they will be able to remove what is left in the water as opposed to dealing with what gets past your pre filter (if you even have one at all..).
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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 10th November 2012, 7:38 am

Thanks for the responses guys! I really appreciate it! This will be the largest tank I've had and it really helps me to get this feedback.

liquidg wrote:Firstly do you want the water to exit your tank by holes drilled in the base or the rear or end of your tank or via a scallop cut?

Then you need to decide on an exit box in the tank or on the tank.

In tank for the holes in floor exit, on tank for holes in wall exit, this one is best to work with!

Im not sure what a scallop cut is but I was planning on having a standard overflow, with a hole in the bottom of the tank since that is what I had before. My tank will not be up against the wall but I was planning on running pvc along the wall for exit/return flows. I am not sure if I should have the exit box on the tank or in the tank given my situation.

liquidg wrote:A bulkhead in each hole, a ninety degree from each hole down wards behind the tank both on an angle to each other, this will help silence waters, then to be joined to a larger pipe.
On the end of that pvc pipe I would put a grey water flex pipe over the end and into your sump, with a section bent into a 180 degree to aim waters up to remove bubbles at the surface.

I definitely remember having noise issues with my overflow drainage last time so maybe I should look into an exit box on the tank this time. I like the grey water flex pipe idea to remove micro bubbles!

As far as having the exit pvc down wards behind the tank both on an angle to each other do you mean like a 'Y' shape where an exit hole is at each end of the tank?

liquidg wrote: With anemones they have a habit of blocking exits so I would make a top to bottom removable mesh wall to keep them from the over flow and make a large surface area for them to try and block and be no trouble if they attach to it due to over all surface area of this mesh.

Netting over a wall of egg crate to slide in and out of plastic moulding glued in like a sliding door track.

The mesh, just tie it off at the back with fishing line to pull it tight on the front.

Another track right behind it with egg crate, but with this one you have a home made wall/sock type of barrier of Dacron to catch and pre filter for easy removal to clean or replace.

I remember this and used to have sponge filters on all my power heads and overflows and they had to be cleaned regularly. I like the idea of a large mesh wall to create lots of surface area but I dont like the idea of having a white egg crate wall viewable in my tank. I might have to think about what else I can do for this. I do like the idea of having a large Dacron barrier that is easy to remove so maybe I can build this into my sump.


DeadSled wrote:I didn't really read your entire post, was a bit long for my liking with not enough pictures to keep me interested.
All good, I just appreciate the feedback.

DeadSled wrote:
I myself have used (i REALLY recommend this stuff, its so f**king pimp..) a glassholes overflow and return kit, so you can have a tiny overflow box in the top of your tank and do away with any big ass weirs that seem to be what people usually do, or a false wall. The overflow boxes are black acrylic and are practically invisible in the tank and also really save on space.

I'll have a look at your new post and look into the GH kits more as it looks really simple and clean from first glance. Did you order it from the states?

I like liquidg's idea of having a pre-filter with a large surface area that is removable and easy to clean but I will have to see what will work better with my space and system.

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 10th November 2012, 9:16 am

Im wondering if I should also move my skimmer and pre-filter to be situated after the algae and before the live rock in my sump so allow the algae and critters living in that section the first chance to take what they need from the water.

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  liquidg on 10th November 2012, 11:06 am

This is an exert from the sump DIY build in the advice section.
A scolap cut!
First draw the line of the size area you want to cut with a curve at the end to allow the glass when you break it to follow that line.
This allows you to cut at the sheet with out going all the way along it for over flows and in this case and under flow is needed.



The scolap cut is done.





The smaller the pre filter or over flow or over flow box, you will have anemones block this and have issues.

I used to make similar to the same type deadsled is talking about,but did away with that way the first time an anemone blocked it in 82 or 83,not sure which year, but it was my second type of pre filter I made and I have used acrylic and glass as well.
Glass is easier, but thatís a personal preference.

After the algae you should have a pre filter,best a settling pre filter.

And yes I mean a Y shape.




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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 15th November 2012, 2:26 pm

I didnt know you could really cut glass like that! I thought it had to be cut in straight lines but apparently not! Im not sure if I want baffles or separate sections in my sump yet but I think I might just try and cut the glass myself then use some Sellys for Aquariums to glue it in place.

I do have another question for you as I am hoping to order my custom tank in the next week or so. I am thinking about an exit box inside the tank on the side that is closest to the wall. I called Dennison at Mary Anne's Aquariums and he suggested I have 2-3 drain holes and 1 return. I am thinking that 2 drains would be less plumbing and simpler. Based on my turnover (90 Gallon in display, with 10x turnover through the sump, I need at least a 1.24 inch diameter pipe. So with 2 drains that are 3/4 inch that should cover me and Im guessing 1.24 - 1.5" for the return.



Another site said I might have noise issues with this type of overflow box so now Im not sure what to do.


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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  liquidg on 15th November 2012, 9:48 pm

Its really up to you which way you go, but I have used all styles and more and the smaller, though very neat, does have issues as you go along and not just with noise either.

With the holes in the tank, you donít need a hole in the glass for the return, that can be achieved nice and easy with a 180 degree bend in a section of pipe and hook over the back somewhere of the tank.

There are less issues with the return water this way.

Plus with the return water pipe, the depth the return in under the water, thatís how much will siphon back when the power is witched off.

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 16th November 2012, 4:07 am

liquidg wrote:Its really up to you which way you go, but I have used all styles and more and the smaller, though very neat, does have issues as you go along and not just with noise either.

With the holes in the tank, you donít need a hole in the glass for the return, that can be achieved nice and easy with a 180 degree bend in a section of pipe and hook over the back somewhere of the tank.

There are less issues with the return water this way.

Plus with the return water pipe, the depth the return in under the water, thatís how much will siphon back when the power is witched off.

I was thinking that a longer exit box would allow the water to enter at a slower pace and hopefully not be strong enough to damage an anemone, as to the length I should get, I am not actually sure. Looking at the link from zhyr, I should think about one that spans the entire length of the back of my tank.

I like the idea of just using a 180 degree bend for the return instead of having a drilled hole, bulkhead and fittings.

I am going to get a ball check valve on the return to minimize siphon into the sump. I learned my lesson many years ago with that one Laughing

zhyr wrote:I would probably suggest an external overflow box and then doing something like [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for your downpipes.
The only thing that may be challenging is having to remove part of the rear wall to allow water to not end up on the floor Razz

This looks like a great design, I'll have to give it a read in more depth but I think its doable. I havent built my tank yet so I should be able to have the rear wall cut however I need it. Thanks for the link.



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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  Makaira on 11th December 2012, 7:03 am

mate nems dont mind a bit of flow as long as their not getting blasted.
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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 6th January 2013, 7:32 am

I got my sump about 2 weeks ago and couldnt resist filling it up since the main tank might be a couple months away still. The venturi valve has been sort of skimming the water and I've been using the hand filter seen on the top of the tank to filter the bubbles of organic matter collecting at the top.

I didnt realize that the online shops would close until tomorrow but I'll be ordering the Tunze Turbelle NanoStream 6045 which pushes up to 4500L/hr. It sounds like a ton of flow so hopefully its not overkill for my main tank but it is adjustable so shouldnt be a problem.

Im also looking at getting a cheaper skimmer, the Bubble Magus BM-NAC3+ Skimmer until I get everything else going.

I need a lot more live rock so I'll be seeing if I can find any deals on people shutting down tanks or trying to get rid of LR or base rock in the meantime.

Hope everyone is having a great new year so far Very Happy


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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  liquidg on 6th January 2013, 8:45 am

Don't forget in Q it is legal to collect corals,live rock and anemones out side of marine parks,there are no restrictions on how much either,just no underwater breathing aparatus to be used.

The closest marine park to the goldie is the north wall of the sea way,the moreton bay one starts there,every where else calcium can be collected.

happy new year Very Happy


Last edited by liquidg on 22nd January 2013, 6:38 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 21st January 2013, 6:50 am

liquidg wrote:Don't forget in Q it is legal to collect corals,live rock and anemones out side of marine parks,there are no restrictions on how much either,just no underwater breathing aparatus to be used.

The closest marine park to the goldie is the north wall of the sea way,the moreton bay one starts there,every else calcium can be collected.

happy new year Very Happy

I remember reading something about rock or sand not being able to collect but could be wrong. I havent seen any calcium on the shores here but once I get a car, I'll have to take a drive up north where I can hopefully collect some (LR too!). Hopefully my work schedule will have changed by then and I wont be working every time you guys have a meeting but I've gotta pay the bills somehow.

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  liquidg on 22nd January 2013, 6:41 am

Shell grit-sand-rubble is illegal to collect unless incidently,work that one out.

Live rock is rare to be against the shore on the coast, when we get ours,if we bother to from 10 to 30 feet of water on the sunshine coast.

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Re: My 4x2x18 Shallow Anemone / Reef Tank (Planning Stages)

Post  kindcorals on 6th February 2013, 5:20 am

liquidg wrote:Shell grit-sand-rubble is illegal to collect unless incidently,work that one out.

Live rock is rare to be against the shore on the coast, when we get ours,if we bother to from 10 to 30 feet of water on the sunshine coast.

That is a strange one but from what I remember, the sand is full of silica which is bad for us right?

As for the live rock, I got lucky and scored a bunch of amazing, branching, coralline covered live rock for a great price, even after paying for a rental car for the day. Its really packed into this 80L tank and I cant wait to get my big tank and aquascape with this stuff.




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