125 Gallon Reef w/ Bean Animal Overflow Build

josho923

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BRS Member
#1
Hi everybody! Gradually making progress with my new 125 gallon setup but I could still use a lot of help. I have all sorts of advanced tropical/freshwater planted tanks, etc., but this is my first shot at saltwater. I've probably spent about 200-300 hours reading up on reef tanks so far and am trying to move forward with the project. So far I've got:

- amazing custom-made solid oak, black stand and canopy built by Jim who is here on Boston Reefers (Calciumbuf). Once I get the tank going, I'll be sure to add pics. I would highly recommend him to anyone interested in having a really nice setup
- new 125 gallon non-reef ready Aqueon tank
- new ADHI 45 sump/refugium

At this point, my main questions are:

1.) where exactly should I drill the holes in the tank? I'm planning on doing a Bean Animal setup with a coast-to-coast overflow. I'm about to drill, but despite reading a lot, I still feel unsure on the hole placement. After reading his threads thoroughly, I know that all three holes leaving the tank should be at the same height and a minimum of the width of a hole away from each other. My plan is for the horizontal center for the holes to be 5" from the top of the tank trim (this is based on Bean Animal and other tank build websites' recommendations) and about 1 to 1.5 inches of space between each hole. Also planning on drilling a 4th hole at the same height, in the center of the tank for a return, which will run just up and over the coast-to-coast overflow (I've seen a picture of this done and it looks great). Any advice here?

2.) Any advice on a quiet, reliable, powerful skimmer for this tank? I'm probably gonna go with a Reef Octopus brand skimmer, just wondering if anybody has experience with these in an ADHI 45 sump or recommendations in general for a super quiet Reef Octopus skimmer that will way overfilter this 125 gallon tank (I'd like one rated for 180++ gallons). The sump is 18" deep, so I've gotten the impression that some skimmers won't work in this since it is so deep. Also, any experience with sitting the skimmer on top of something in the sump to, in essence, "lower" the water line that the skimmer sees?

Thanks SO much in advance for any advice! Can't wait to get this plumbed and up and running! I'll try to keep this thread updated, along with some pics, to show progress on the Bean Animal overflow, etc.
 
#2
1 go bigger with the skimmer . for a while I was tossing around Ideas of going skimmerless , tried it and ended up with a mess lol. as for drilling the tank and bean animal overflows I am clueless . would like to see one though .
 

josho923

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#3
reefstarter: glad to hear you agree on the skimmer. I'm always a big believer in overdoing everything - heaters, filters, etc. rated for WAY more gallonage than the tank they're in. As for the Bean Animal overflow, there are lots of examples online of builds, but I am looking forward to posting my progress and any insights I stumble upon here going forward.
 

JohnK

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#4
The first thing that strikes me is that is a lot of $$ for a sump. Have you considered just using an off the shelf glass tank and setting that up as a sump? You could probably get essentially the same result for 1/3 the cost.

For the drain, it doesn't often get emphasised, but avoid any angled runs on the drains. Sounds like you are going straight down to the sump right below the tank, so it shouldn't be an issue but keep it in mind. (angled runs can cause restarting issues).

Personally I'd rather go up and over the top with the return since every additional hole weakens a given plane of glass. As long as you can solidly anchor the return to something (like the canopy) over the top works fine and is one less hole to drill / worry about.

On hole spacing, it sounds like your plan is good but I would suggest asking directly to someone who is in the know. I don't know how responsive bean himself is to individual questions but Jim aka Uncleof6, though not always flowers and rainbows in his way of responding, will respond to specific questions. Maybe make up a nice, clear drawing of your plans and post it in the RC bean thread. Jim is almost sure to respond and if he doesn't respond in the thread you can always PM him and ask for his input.

How are you planning on building the coast to coast?

Sounds like a great project.
 

josho923

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BRS Member
#5
I am meeting with somebody to drill in a couple of days, which does not allow me for enough time to get my drill bit in the mail. I was initially just going to drill for the standard 1" Schedule 40 bulkheads, but I want to go with the Schedule 80 bulkheads for stability (and will plumb the rest with Schedule 40 PVC). Does anybody have a glass drill bit for 1 inch Schedule 80 bulkheads that they can loan me for a day? It should be a 48mm bit and cut a hole closer to 1.88", rather than the typical 1.75" you see with the Schedule 40 bulkheads. If anybody has this to loan, I'm happy to donate some money to your cause, or I could give you a bunch of tank supplies, freshwater plants, etc. I can make it worth your while, I just really need the bit shortterm because my schedule is so crazy and coordinating this drilling has been hard enough.
 

JohnK

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#6
Oh and the skimmer. This is a kind of odd topic IME.

Back in the day a lot of the skimmers on the market were all over the place on their ratings and this made it very hard to compare one to another. Same is still true but things seem at least somewhat more consistent. Whatever the case, a correctly sized skimmer will usually outperform an oversized skimmer. When you really oversize a skimmer it will often have difficulty sustaining a steady foam head and will end up running in neutral most of the time and not doing much. When you run a crappy skimmer (ie corallite super skimmer) it will work poorly and your are better off way oversizing because it's way overrated in the first place.

My system is currently @ 70-80 gallons and I find that my current RLSS R6i works extremely consistently and is a fantastic performer. In the past I've run much larger / bigger rated skimmers and never had nearly as good results. Point being, well matched is better than oversized IME / IMO. I'd suggest seeking suggestions from people with very similar sized and stocked systems to what you are looking to create. Talk to the different shop owners / system builders and see what they reccomend to get some ideas. There are a million good, better, and great skimmers on the market these days. It's hard to compare apples to padlocks (varying ratings that is), so really take your time and get a lot of opinions on skimmer choices.
 

josho923

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BRS Member
#7
John K: I've read a lot of your posts in the past and they are always insightful, so I really appreciate your input. You are totally right about the sump/refugium - it's nice, but they cost way more than they should and after getting it in the mail, I did have some buyer's remorse. For the drain, I am planning on having the holes in place so that the pipes should be a straight shot down into the sump. Thanks for the input on the return - I've been debating the over the top route vs. another hole drilled quite a bit. This tank will have a canopy, so anchoring it shouldn't be too much trouble. Three total holes (all for the drainpipes) it is! I'll try touching base with uncleof6 - ha, like I mentioned before, I have been reading everything I can find online, so I definitely remember reading a great deal of his past posts as well. For the coast to coast, I'm planning on using smoky, black-tinted glass and siliconing it together - plan is to have the top brim of the overflow line up with the lower margin of the tank's trim, as Bean Animal and others have advised, so that the water line is never visible even with the pump off, and with the upturned elbow for the backup drainpipe around 3/8" below this... Hopefully once I get the holes drilled and start getting the plumbing going, things should start to come together and I can share more pics of the build. If anybody has a drill bit to loan me for a day for a 1" Schedule 80 bulkhead like I wrote above, I will be eternally grateful!
 

choff

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BRS Member
#8
Hi josh, sounds like a nice build and you have done your homework. I recently put a bean animal in my 40b FT just for kicks. The main lesson I learned is make sure the overflow box is big enough that you can remove the elbows. The height you actually drill the holes does not matter. The water level is going to be determined by the height of the overflow box. Just the lower you make the holes the lower and bigger the box needs to be. I would space the 3 pipes out even more than a pipe width. Give yourself some space to work you have it and you have the entire length of that coast to coast box to work with.

I'm a huge fan of SRO skimmers. Their bubble blaster pumps come with a 3 year warranty. I have the XP 3000i. I think you would be fine with a 2000. Without a doubt if you have the head room look at getting their auto neck cleaner. They are worth every penny. I have mine in a 125 gal sump and I had to build a 8" plexi stand for it to sit on. No issues at all except it is a bit of a detritus trap. I'm looking to redesign the stand so that it hangs from the sides and has no feet touching the bottom of the sump.

I have a set of glass saws, but I'm away this weekend.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Mike

...stupid auto correct
 
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josho923

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BRS Member
#9
John K: thanks also for the input on skimmers. I keep writing a post prior to seeing what you write, only to discover it after I've written for ten minutes, posted it, and then refreshed the thread to discover that you had posted something in the interim, ha!
On the freshwater side, with simple canister filters for mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, it's pretty straightforward in that bigger essentially equates to better. Your explanation of optimal protein skimming with saltwater totally makes sense and will completely change the way I approach this part of the build. Thanks again for your help!
 

choff

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BRS Member
#10
Hey just saw this thread on r2r. That elite DC pump looks awesome.

http://www.reef2reef.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1944754

Reef Octopus Regal Vs Elite controllable pump skimmers

In our latest CVTV video I go over the differences between the two new controllable pump skimmer lines by Reef Octopus. Enjoy!<br />
<br />
[URL=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gEqjbINHkM&amp;amp;feat......

...stupid auto correct
 

Docstach

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BRS Member
#11
Unique aquaria should have the drill bit (and drill aquariums) because they drilled my 125g for schedule 80 bulk heads recently. Although I don't remember the exact hole size, I do know some are a little different. Talking about skimmers and skimmer pumps, any of the skimmers with a dc pump should be very quiet. I agree that having the holes spaced out may make things easier to work on. The one caveat is that if you make them toward the center of a 6 ft tank, once the tank is against a wall it may be very difficult to reach the bulkheads if you need to. The only other thing I can of is if you are striving for something with little noise, think about the water level inside the overflow. If the water has to fall too far, it will start to make some noise (this is where I miscalculated a little).
 

josho923

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BRS Member
#12
choff: thanks for the input. You said "The water level is going to be determined by the height of the overflow box. Just the lower you make the holes the lower and bigger the box needs to be." I've realized this and taken this into consideration, but am wondering if anybody has any specific numbers for me on the shallowest I can make my coast-to-coast overflow and still work with the three standpipe setup. I'd ideally like to have a minimally deep overflow box (relatively speaking; I'm assuming 4 inch depth at minimum), since 125 gallon tanks aren't very tall and I'd like to minimize how much of the back glass pane that is obscured by the overflow. The key I am seeing is that it needs to be deep enough to allow for the two main drain downturned elbows to fit nicely in the bottom of the overflow box while also deep enough to allow for the emergency drainpipe upturned elbow to still be around 3/8" or so below the top of the overflow, so that it can kick in if/when it is needed, prior to overflowing the overflow, ha.
I'll check out the SRO line with the Bubble Blaster Pumps. The Elite controllable pump skimmers do look really nice - I'll have to look around at pricing for these.

Docstach: thanks a lot for letting me know about Unique Aquaria. I impulse bought the drill bit late last night and ordered it Priority Mail with the hope that it will arrive by Tuesday, so that I'd have it ready for the Wednesday project date. UA doesn't open until noon today - I'll try calling them to see if I could bring my tank by later today or if they could even do it Wednesday.
I'll also look for skimmers with DC pumps.
Like you mentioned, I've been struggling with the hole placement and how that will impact my ability to access the bulkheads/standpipes once the tank is filled. With the way the sump is set up and where the holes would ideally go, I might have a hard time getting to them toward the corner of the room it'll be in... :confused:
I'm a little confused by what you mean about the water having "to fall to far." Do you mean the increased head pressure up and over the tank edge? Typically, Bean Animal et. al have recommended having the overflow top edge be parallel with the lower edge of the tank trim (about an inch below the top rim of the tank itself) for a couple of reasons. This allows for some wiggle room/safety factor to reduce the risk of a flood with the tank itself overflowing, and also is just high enough so that you shouldn't see a water line in the tank ever, even if/when the return pump is shut off. I was planning on having my gate valve close to my sump (per Bean Animal, placement doesn't matter unless you have your sump way lower than your tank (i.e. distant basement), simply for ease of access only. Does this have something to do with what you are referring to?
 
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Docstach

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#13
I'm a little confused by what you mean about the water having "to fall to far." Do you mean the increased head pressure up and over the tank edge? Typically, Bean Animal et. al have recommended having the overflow top edge be parallel with the lower edge of the tank trim (about an inch below the top rim of the tank itself) for a couple of reasons. This allows for some wiggle room/safety factor to reduce the risk of a flood with the tank itself overflowing, and also is just high enough so that you shouldn't see a water line in the tank ever, even if/when the return pump is shut off. I was planning on having my gate valve close to my sump (per Bean Animal, placement doesn't matter unless you have your sump way lower than your tank (i.e. distant basement), simply for ease of access only. Does this have something to do with what you are referring to?
I just meant the hight of the water inside the overflow but still inside the tank vs the hight of the water in the main part of the tank. I agree with you. I think placing the top of the overflow equal with bottom of the trim is perfect and is what I did. As an extreme example, imagine your overflow at that hight but you drilled the holes in the tank so that the bulkheads were 12" below and you didn't use an upturned pipe. The water would flow over the overflow at the hight of the bottom of the trim and then have to "fall" down to where your bulkheads are and create some noise. This was especially true for me because I did not use elbows on my bean animal overflow as I wanted a slimmer design.
 

choff

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#14
I just meant the hight of the water inside the overflow but still inside the tank vs the hight of the water in the main part of the tank. I agree with you. I think placing the top of the overflow equal with bottom of the trim is perfect and is what I did. As an extreme example, imagine your overflow at that hight but you drilled the holes in the tank so that the bulkheads were 12" below and you didn't use an upturned pipe. The water would flow over the overflow at the hight of the bottom of the trim and then have to "fall" down to where your bulkheads are and create some noise. This was especially true for me because I did not use elbows on my bean animal overflow as I wanted a slimmer design.
I can control the height of the water in the overflow very easy with a gate valve that I used in place of a ball valve on the primary drain. I'm sure you can do it with a ball too, but i have a bit more precision with the gate.

Doc, did you use bulkhead strainers or nothing? I think I would do the same the next time around. I followed beans design to the letter, but have since seen other pipe variations that would have suited me better.

One other design note I figured out that May or may not have been mentioned in the orig description, but height placement for the air line that turns the backup drain into a full siphon if covered. I put that a little below the Mac height I wanted the water level to reach and above the upturned 3rd backup drain. Initially I had it too low and caused the middle drain to bounce between full siphon and took longer for the primary drain to go into a full siphon. It would take almost 20 min after restarts. Once I got the height right, restarts are almost immediate.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Docstach

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#15
Doc, did you use bulkhead strainers or nothing? I think I would do the same the next time around. I followed beans design to the letter, but have since seen other pipe variations that would have suited me better.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I used nothing to cover the bulkhead openings. HOWEVER I have netting over the top of the overflow to keep all of the critters out. I used a gate valve as well, but prefer to keep mine as open as possible to minimize water flow through the open drain (although I ended up closing it some to raise the water level a bit).
 

josho923

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#16
Docstach, thanks for the explanation on what you meant about the water having to fall; makes perfect sense.

Choff, I am definitely planning on also going with the gate valve for sure, just wanted to make sure nobody has run into any issues with it being fairly close to the sump (Bean Animal describes in physics terms why the placement of this higher/lower on the drainpipe shouldn't matter). Thanks also for the pointer on the air line placement and startup time.

In relation to what both of you guys are discussing about the bulkhead strainers, etc., I'd like to make this coast-to-coast overflow as small as is feasible while not taking away from the functionality of the setup - I'd really like to minimize how high the overflow needs to be and also how deep front to back, in order to reduce the intrusion on the viewing/swimming area of the tank (especially a 125 gallon, which is relatively short and shallow from front to back). Without the need for the elbows/strainers, wouldn't this allow me to make the overflow box a fair amount shallower? With this kind of build, I'd assume that the emergency standpipe hole would actually need to be drilled higher, since you'd no longer have the downturned/upturned elbow differential. I had settled on drilling the horizontal line for all of the holes at the same height, 5 inches from the top of the trim, and go-time on the drilling is about 36 hrs. from now: should I drill them higher, with the emergency bulkhead hole even higher than the other two?!? If so, not sure how high I should go. Thanks for all the help, everybody... I wanna get this right! :confused: :)
 

josho923

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#17
Also, any thoughts on the water flow vortex that (theoretically) can sometimes occur and the importance of the downturned elbows and strainers being just barely above the bottom of the overflow box as a partial preventer of this?
 
#18
that vortex is a function of the speed the water flows with and thickness of the water layer in between the level of the water and the intake, if you have 3-4 inches depth of water to the downturn intake I would not worry about it, unless it's a full siphon drain running a long drop, like to your basement.
 

josho923

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#19
So would it be good engineering on my part to have the coast-to-coast overflow without any elbows/strainers, etc.? Just an overflow covered by netting to keep critters out, flowing directly into the bulkhead openings? My goal, of course, is to shoot to get as close as is possible to a "failproof" system (I know there us no such thing as totally failproof) and to make this as quiet and efficient as possible, etc. If this is a feasible way to do it, I'm left rethinking how low I should drill my holes below the tank trim and also the height differential between the two main pipes and the emergency overflow pipe hole. Sorry for my ignorance on this, guys, it's just my first go-around with all of this stuff. Any advice on the heights of the two main holes and the emergency standpipe hole on a 125 gallon tank?
 
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