Thursday, August 28, 2008

The 54-gallon tank and what will be used for water flow

The Tank (picture to right is from Jan 08): With not a lot of room for the tank, I wanted to get the maximum gallons out of the tank in the smallest space possible. For a reef tank, tall and narrow tanks generally don't work well (such as hexagon tanks) since the surface area is fairly small and this doesn't allow for a good exchange of gas (i.e. CO2 out and O2 in). When I showed the wife the look of the bowfront corner tanks, she agreed it would look good and I was given permission to buy it (yes I do need to get permission to buy stuff like this, after all while it is "our" house, it really is "her" house). I ended up going with the 54 gallon tank, but would have loved to have gone to the 92 gallon but that was simply too large.

The Backgrou
nd: I like to have a black background on the tank to help give some depth to the tank and hide anything hanging off the back of the tank such as cords running down. Initially I went with one of the cut to fit backgrounds that get taped on. While this worked fairly well, if you spill a little water down it left a permanent mark (salt creep) and didn't look that good. So I decided to paint the back glass (actually two panels on the corner tanks). I did a lot of searching on what people used on their tanks. People recommended anything from marine paints (epoxy ones used on boat bottoms) to different types of spray paints. I like the idea of spray paints, I hate roller or brushing on paints as I find I leave lines. So I went with Krylon Fusion black spray paint as it had a fairly good amount of positive reviews from people. I taped off the edges and the overflow box (I still wanted to be able to see the overflow area, not that I will be able to once it is tucked in the corner, but still I did) and started painting. It took about 4-5 coats to get a good cover. I am sure I wasted some paint, but it ended up taking just over one can of paint to cover the two sides. I guess now time will tell how long it holds up.

Water movement: When I had my 220 gallon tank running, I used two of the EcoTech Marine Vortech pumps for water movement (MP40 model). I loved these pumps and when I got rid of the 220, I decided I would keep these. I had the "older" version before the wireless wave driver was released. I used these pumps on 54 gallon before, but had to keep them at the slowest flow otherwise is was almost blowing the sand and everything else out of the tank.

Now that the tank is empty and I am in the rebuilding phase, I figured it was a great time to update these guys to the wireless wave drivers. So I emailed EcoTech and let them know what I had and asked what I needed to do to update them. They said to send them in and they would upgrade, update and do some preventative maintenance on them for a very fair price. So off they went to EcoTech. The day EcoTech received the pumps, I got an email from them letting me know they got the pumps, what they were going to do and the total price. Very good customer service (as always) from the crew at EcoTech. The pumps should be on their way back to me and will hopefully be here in the next day or two. If you happen to have one of their "older" pumps without the wave driver o
n your tank and don't want to take it off (i.e. your tank needs the flow), Marine Depot does carry the upgrade drivers here.

Another great feature about the Vortech pumps is the optional battery back up that will keep the pumps running in the event of a power outage. I live in an area that tends to have frequent outages (guess that is the price I pay for living in the middle of nowhere) and this is a great piece of mind for me and my tank. It will run a single pump for 30+ hours. It is quite a heavy piece of equipment, but doesn't take up a lot of room. Well worth the investment IMO.

Besides the Vortech, there will also be a small amount of flow from my return pump. Currently I am trying to decide if I want to stick with my
Mag Drive 5 or try a different pump (such as an Eheim Hobby pump or one of the new Maxi Jet Utility pumps).

With my next posting I will talk about the controller I will be using along with some thoughts on my sump and possible plans for it.