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M&Mreef 20 gal long chop top tidal pool tank


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About a week ago I finished a 3 week long custom build on a
20 gal long display set up themed around the tidal pools. The main display is a 20 gal long which was
broken down and cut to a depth of 6 inches.
The total water volume of this system is right at about 30 gallons in
total between two pump chambers and the fuge.
This set up was built on mostly spare part with a few items purchased to
tune it up right.

The idea here was to
design a set up that would closely replicate the environment of the tidal pools
which was health and stable for the life it would hold. Currently it has some snails and small hermit
and future inhabits will include a few star fish, sea hair, urchin and a sea
hair common creatures found in the tidal pools.


This system had a modification done to the cabinet it sits
on which allowed for the addition of some extra water and it supported part of
the main feature of the tank. I want a
clean build and display which did not have a bunch of stuff in it or hanging off
of it.


As the water drains off the main through to 1 in PVC
bulkheads it drops into a pump chamber located in the left side of the
stand. The container is a 1 gallon
critter cage which contains two small pumps.
This pump house has a standing drain pipe in the bottom of it which sets
in the plastic sink drain installed in the bottom of the cabinet. This allows me to putt the container and do maintenance
with easy. From the drain I installed a
plastic sink 6 in tail pipe which moves the water down to my fuge. The water move through the stand without spilling a drop
of water.


The fuge is a Aqueon 8 with 1 in of mud, 1 in of coral and 1
in of sand and a few piece of live rock.
I cut a hole about 7/8 from the top and installed a PVC bulk head and
drain pipe to the last chamber of the system my return pump house. I can pull out any of the three chambers and
do service without having to cut, cap or hassle with disconnection anything.


In this photo the return was changed out for a larger container.

The return pump chamber is separate from the others and a
bit bigger than normal for a reason. I
have design this system to drop the water in the main display by about one inch
and as such I needed to make sure I could house that water. Currently the system is working correctly in
the manual mode as I am waiting on my reef keeper lite to arrive this week to
automate the system.


I use the two small pumps to create a tidal motion in the main display by pumping water through
spray bars scratch built with rain bird irrigation pipe (1/2dia) each bar has a few large holes drilled a specific
locations to move the main water column with a good bit of force. These two pumps are powered by a dual ocean
duo with a 10 second push alternating moving the water from the right then the
left for about 22 hours each day. The
reef keeper will control the start up and shut down of the pumps and will also
automate the lighting. At set times
during the day the main will be turned off to allow the water in the display to
siphon off to the first jet ( about 1 inch down) it take about 15 mins for this
to happen. About 5 mins before this
point is reached the small pumps will shut down also stopping all water
movement in the main for about 30 minutes simulating a still tidal pool. After this time the system will start up
first with the spray bars then the main restoring full operation.


Everything has test out and all that is left is the reef
keeper to finish this system off. It
took some tweaking and tuning to get it all right but it works as planned and I
am happy with it. He lighting is a
modified 36in Zoo med dual T-5 fixture with on ocean sun 10,000 K and a Super
Blue with two 36 watt 10,000 K stunners mounted about 18 in from the surface of
the display.

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