Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to turn your FOWLR Aquarium into a (deluxe!) Reef Tank




We are often asked, “What would you do if it were your tank?”...... well today we are going to show you just that.  A few weeks back we showed you guys how to set up a simple fish only system.  If you missed that video, you can find a link on our video description below.  In this episode we will continue working on that 64 gallon tank and show you how to convert a fish only system into a full blown reef tank with all the bells and whistles.

The first thing we want to do is to drill the tank for an overflow box and add a sump. Canister filters are great for fish-only systems. However, they do take more effort to keep clean because you need to take apart the entire canister filter to access the filtration media.  If not maintained on a regular basis, canister filters trap debris and become nitrate factories which really work against you in terms of keeping optimal water quality for a reef tank.
 
A sump will not only hold and hide much of the filtration system, but will also increase water volume for added stability. We will be going with the top of the line Trigger Systems Emerald sump. They are gorgeously made right here in the USA and have a ton of awesome features: such as an interchangeable plate for running foam block or filter socks, adjustable skimmer chamber height, media tray with self-adjusting foam block platform, probe and dosing tube holders.

While the easier route is to add a hang-on overflow box, we had the tank drilled and used a CPR retrofit overflow box. Usually, we love to do things ourselves. However, we did not want to risk damaging our gorgeous low-iron tank, so the drilling was done for us, professionally, by a local glass shop.  Drilling your tanks makes for a much cleaner installation and reduces the risk of the flood associated with a hang on overflow box.
 
We installed a black background from Blue Life USA that will hide the electrical wires and all of the plumbing and give the tank a sleek and professional look.

When it comes to the plumbing we made a durso style drain pipe and used some 1” flexible PVC for both the drain and return water lines.  We are installing an AquaticLife Macro AquaFlow Swing Wavemaker directly onto the return bulkhead to help create some random water movement in the tank.
 
An AquaMaxx CO-1 skimmer is placed into the skimmer chamber of the sump.  We added a couple of AquaMaxx media reactors for chemical filtration and the trigger systems sumps include a filter sock to take care of mechanical filtration.

We are also going to install a matching Trigger Systems Emerald ATO Reservoir right next to the sump to hold our top-off water.

We choose the awesome Reef Octopus VarioS controllable DC water pump for the return.  These little pumps are very efficient, run quiet and offer a variety of handy failsafe and control options. It is also Apex-Ready which means the pump can be monitored and controlled with your Neptune Systems Apex Controller

As we were impressed by the upgrades and the output of the new of AI Prime HD LED Lights, we added two fixtures to provide high output lighting for the corals.  This is one of the main differences between a fish only aquarium and a reef tank.  Reef tanks require intense lighting to promote photosynthesis among the corals while fish only systems only need standard output lighting to provide a natural day and night cycle for the fish.

So that does it for this video but the fun does not stop here.  In our next video we are taking this tank to the next level because we teamed up with Neptune Systems and will be adding the new wiFi apex controller to show you guys just how far you can go in terms of automation and control for your reef.  We also have a big surprise in store so be sure to check back in with us. 

- Take Care and Happy Reefkeeping.