Advice on converting a FW tank to SW (Illustrations included)

Discussion in 'Medium Tanks' started by erratiC, 26 Sep 2011.

  1. erratiC

    erratiC

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm needing some advice on how to go about converting my existing FW Juwel RIO 400 to a SW tank... I've sketched up my tank and also sketched up a proposed solution that I've been thinking about but I've got absolutely zero experience when it comes to sumps so I'm reaching out :)

    Also, with the overflow in the DT - was thinking about going a skinny coast to coast. Any suggestions maybe?

    See below sketches :

    My existing tank and dimensions

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is what I've been thinking about doing - give me some thoughts please. You'll see that because I'm taking out one of the supports, I'm going to be needing to reinforce the cupboards with metal bars. Might be a bit of overkill but I'd rather have too much than too little.

    Just one question though to all the guys out there with a limited sump space... would you like it if your sump could roll forward as in out of the cupboard completely? Would it benefit you in any way? Just thinking about options here before I start cutting up my cupboard space. Would it be better to just remove all the existing cupboards completely?

    Obviously with regards to the sketch below, the skimmer would be in the left section. Haven't thought about the return side yet.

    [​IMG]

    Please let me know what you guys think.
     
    Last edited: 26 Sep 2011
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  3. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    Welcome dude... I would remove the cupboards and stuff and put a center brace. Then after the sump is up and running, then I would look at making cupboards in there because you will know what space you dont need. Having a cramped engine room certainly makes things more difficult..

    A skinny coast to coast (C2C) works good or even an external overflow box would be better as it would free up more room in your DT but would require more work
     
  4. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Welcome. Do yourself a favour and redo the entire sump area and make it open, nothing worse than having to work in a cramped sump area!
     
  5. erratiC

    erratiC Thread Starter

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    Thanks Tremayn... I was thinking about going an external overflow but then thought it's an extra bit of machinery that could go wrong so decided against it. Just had a look at your tank thread and and saw how simple your overflow is. Might think about doing the same and getting somebody to drill a hole in my DT for me. What you think?

    Thanks butcherman. Appreciate the advice.
     
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    As mentioned, open up the sump space. Else how will you be able to service your return pump?

    Enlarge the new stand a bit, make full use of the length of the tank. If you can fit a RO chamber, then do it. What filtration are you planning, Skimmer - DSB - return. Or skimmer - NP reactor - return?

    Skinny overflow is better seeing your tank is only 44cm wide. But if you got bracing and overflow ends up below the bracing, then remember anything that goes into there, you will not be able to get it out. So rather use a old style standard box corner overflow.
     
  7. erratiC

    erratiC Thread Starter

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    Hi Riaan, to be honest, I hadn't even given the sump itself any thought other than just the height of the skimmer. The box corner overflow you were talking about - would it look like the one in Tremayn's tank?

    I was however planning on doing vodka/prodibio so using a DSB or NP reactor might not even be necessary and I'm planning on getting a huuuge skimmer as well. What you think?

    And, does this look better? :yeahdude:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Evo R

    Evo R

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    Hi and Welcome.

    Just a quick question.....
    Did you ever use any copper medication in your FW tank?? If so i would re-think the use of this tank, as copper is deadly to marines !!!!!
     
  9. erratiC

    erratiC Thread Starter

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    Hi Evo,

    I've never needed to use copper this tank thankfully - I've got Malawi cichlids in there at the moment and they're an incredibly resilient bunch having never needed any type of medication.

    A good diet and frequent water changes goes a long way!
     
    Last edited: 26 Sep 2011
  10. crispin

    crispin

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    welcome to masa erratiC, great to have you join:)

    there are many ways to do an overflow and if you give me a little time i'll dig out some useful threads you can read through.

    with marines a simp+listic way to look at it is that we are only keeping water. We try keep that water as stable, as pure and as close to a given set of parameters as possible. all the rest, the corals, the fish, inverts etc etc are incidental to haveing perfect water. The best way to achieve that perfect water is to have great filtration. the best way to have great filtration is in a well planned sump. So your sump area realy does require immence planning and time spend now on getting a sump planned propperly to do the job we want it to do (keep water clean and stanble) is about the best investment you can make.

    I personally would bin the stand you have, get one made specifically for your tank and maybe even a little longer so you have some more space in there. The stand you have will restrict you later on. I have read you want to go probuiotic carbon dosing system (walking rather early in my view) and thuis might not need the space for dsb etc. but plan in having things like a decent sized RO chamber (with auto top up system), chiller, carbon reactor, calcium reactor and increased sump sized giving you additional vollume.

    the set up you have can be converted easily i think, but plan your sump area well, it will stand you in good stead in months to come:)

    some overflow reading for you (note if you search on the top bar for overflow a number of options come up, ive just selected a few good reads)

    Evolution of slimline Overflow - Marine Aquariums of South Africa

    Types of Overflows, an Illustrated Guide - Marine Aquariums of South Africa
     
    RiaanP, erratiC and Alan like this.
  11. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Agree with all advice given above, you can also purchase an overflow box for the system, I know Reef Octopus used to make them.
     
    Last edited: 26 Sep 2011
  12. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Wicked drawing skills... but keep it practical. decide on a filtration route and make sure you have enough space for it.. DSB's require as larga a space possible to be effective and are barely worth doing if the servisable area is to small compared to the tank volume..

    as for the tans. if you could change it and go metal frame either epoxy, hammerite coated or galvanised it would be a plus..

    look through some of the members tank build threads to formulate ideas..

    the overflow can easily be fitted.. drilling is a simple task and can take roughly 1 minite per 1mm glass thickness.. less if you are experienced.. and glass drill bits have become readily acessable over the last few years..

    your options are endless..

    we are here to help..
     
  13. erratiC

    erratiC Thread Starter

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    Hi crispin,

    I've had a look at Neil H's thread on the types of overflows which is where i got the idea of doing the skinny C2C but since then my mind has been changed to a corner box overflow - from what I've been told it's the easiest way to go.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom - I've had a TL550 for almost a year now so I think I've got the whole husbandry thing down to a tee - might be a bit more work with a 450l tank but I think I got the gist of it :)

    Having had a TL550 obviously the sump had come with tank so all this sump work is newish to me - I did do a bit of reading before I went into the hobby to make sure of what I was getting into.

    Thanks again!

    Hi Alan,

    I would like to stay away from the overflow box due to it being another device to worry about, hehe, so I'd rather hunt for someone in DBN to help me out with drilling this tank seeing as it's going to be with me for a while I think. I'm just hoping to get enough knowledge to be able to give the blueprints to a glass cutter/sump builder and say "There, that's what i want - now go build it."

    Thanks leslie - I started using Sketchup last night and got hooked. Dammit! :p

    I'll have to get someone else to do the drilling, hehe. I've got zero experience with regards to gluing or drilling glass so I wouldn't even think about doing it myself - perhaps at first watching someone else do it and learning from him (OR HER). I do not need 450litres of water all over my floor - the fiance will not be happy! :lol:
     
  14. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    One side of the cabinet needs to be opened up, as you got it there. Else how will you slide in the sump?
     
  15. erratiC

    erratiC Thread Starter

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    Ha, I'm going to have to build the base up again around the sump once it's in. The screws that keep the sides standing are screwed in from the top under the tank... what a schlep! Dammit!

    Good thinking Riaan! :thumbup:

    edit:

    On second thought I'm going to have to fit one of the sides to the base as a door so that if I need to remove the sump for any reason I won't have to dismantle my entire tank.
     
    Last edited: 26 Sep 2011
  16. Singularity

    Singularity Hmmm amper!

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    my advice is to sell that tank and get a tank built by one of the sponsors.
     
  17. Dlaria

    Dlaria

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    I'm not a DIY'er and afraid of a problem with equipment causing a flood in the house. If the power goes out0 or the one and only pump goes out; the water pretty much just sits where it is. I just bought a hang on the back refugeum and skimmer and am using cheato in the refugeum and dsb in both display tank and refugeum. I throw in a knee high stocking with phosphate reducer, and another with carbon and ammonia absorber, in the fuge from time to time. Live rock, a few powerheads for flow, heater in the fuge, thermometer, and led lights. I don't have the best gear like most of the folks here; but so far it seams to be working. Maybe some day I'll have a good place where I won't be afraid of the floor getting wet, and I'll get a professional setup like the ones I've seen on here. My house is too small. I need a big house so I can have a bigger aquarium. :)
    I don't have any equipment underneath. It all hangs on the back. If I ever ran into a real water problem and needed to really up my filtration, I'd throw my old freshwater hob filter on there. The tank's about 4" from the wall, to fit the equipment on the back, but I don't have a lot of pumps, no having the tank drilled, pipes, etc. Only pump is into the skimmer, and that overflows into the fuge, then fuge back into tank. It's pretty quiet, too.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] (old pic with old lights)
    [​IMG]
    There's one little pump on the left near the top, and the little return middle top. This was the simplest way I could find, to switch from fresh to saltwater.
     
    Last edited: 27 Sep 2011
  18. erratiC

    erratiC Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the advice but I'm personally not ready to get rid of this tank when I can see it's still in perfect condition and I think it would probably cost less to convert it than to get a new one ;)

    Thanks Dlaria! Your tank is looking so awesome!
     
  19. Dlaria

    Dlaria

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    Thanks. The red tree sponge was exposed to air in transit. Lost that. I think in about 3 years it'll look good. :)
     
  20. erratiC

    erratiC Thread Starter

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    Hey everyone,

    I've taken my tank apart and traded in my Malawis for a big chunk of credit :)thumbup:) and I've taken the entire tank apart (incl. stand). Was it a mission? %*^$ Yes!

    I've got a couple of small questions though....

    1. What's the easiest way to remove silicone from the back of my tank? Or will elbow grease have to do? (It's inside the tank, btw)
    2. How do I disinfect the tank and make it "reef-friendly"? I read somewhere that a vinegar wipe will do? Should I do anything else or will that be enough?

    That's it for now. Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: 2 Oct 2011
  21. erle_vaughan

    erle_vaughan

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    stanley blade... you can get a scraper holder at a hardware for one...
     
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