Upgrade to 120Gs: Quiet is Key

Discussion in 'Show Off Your Fish Tanks!' started by magnetar68, Jan 27, 2011.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. magnetar68

    magnetar68 Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    I am new to 3reef, but wanted to document my 120 gallon upgrade. I currently have an RSM 130D (see here). This is a 34 gallon all-in-one, but I added an overflow with DIY sump, ATO, DA Controller, and a refugium. After having this setup for a year, I learned a lot but I would like a bigger tank. There are a few reasons for this:

    • Quiet. Very Quiet. I know this is hard with a reef tank, but my design is going to great lengths to make it as quiet as practical.
    • Higher watt lighting: I currently have 110W of power compact lighting, but I would like to keep some animals with greater PAR needs.
    • More volume: more/bigger fish and enough live rock to keep a healthy mandarin.
    • Get everything inside the stand. I currently have the chiller and top off water outside the tank and I don't like the clutter.

    The primary reason, however, is that I like designing and implementing tanks :) I probably enjoy building them as much as I enjoy admiring them.

    I don't quite have a stocking plan, but I figure with 120 gallons and a decent amount of PAR, I should have lots of options. I had a tank plan for my last tank and the reality is that LFS availability drove my plan more than my initial stocking list.

    Based on available space in my living room, here is my current thinking (I explain some of the reasoning in more detail below):

    • 48"x24"x24 Trimless/Rimless style tank
    • Coast-to-Coast External Overflow (5% drain drops straight into sump)
    • Toothless design (I will use egg-crate above the water line as described below)
    • DIY or off-the-shelf LED lighting
    • Refugium with DSB
    • Quiet Skimmer
    • Digital Aquatics Controller w/ATO
    • Vortech MP60
    • Other reactor and dosing paraphernalia

    Quiet

    Since quiet is my main goal, I spent some time researching this on line. In reef tanks, a large source of noise is when water flow becomes turbulent and mixes with air, so one key to a quiet tank is laminar flow and designs that don't give the water too much opportunity to mix with air. Several people swear by the BeanAnimal overflow design. This is basically a Herbie overflow with a third emergency only drain. The main advantage of the Herbie design is that 95% of the draining happens through a submerged standpipe so no air can mix to make gurgling noises. The other 5% or so drains along the sides of the PVC as laminar flow, so no noise. This also assumes you submerge the standpipes in the sump, so there is no splashing or bubbling noises when the water enters the sump.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a conceptual idea of what the tank will look like:

    [​IMG]

    I approached a few builders and they all said they would not put an external overflow on a rimless, so the eurobracing is going to be required. I also looked at an internal overflow, but I like the cleaner look of an external overflow.

    Overflow

    The driver behind the toothless overflow is avoiding the trickle you can get from the turbulent flow created by teeth. A long thin sheet of water is taken instead. This opens up the problem that snails and fish etc can get into the overflow. I solved this in my current DIY sump by using egg-crate 1/4" above the water surface, but nothing comes into contact with the water. It's a little hard to see, but the egg-create on the left shows this:

    [​IMG]

    Lighting

    I live in CA so electricity is expensive. I pay around $0.25 per KWh. ANd if I go over certain limits, the marginal cost of non-essential usage can get into the $0.40s/KWh. Ouch. So, nothing offers the PAR/Watt of LEDs, so that's my plan.

    I have designed a 46"x10" hanging fixture that uses 105 High-power LEDs. I may end up buying off-the-shelf, but I think this would cost about $1300 to build for 250W of LED lighting. Here's the idea:

    Heat Sink is 46"x10"x1" (LxWxH)
    105 LEDs
    71 CREE XR-E Bin D316 Royal Blue (shown as blue)
    22 CREE XR-E R2 Cool White (shown as white)
    12 CREE XP-G R5 Cool White (shown as yellow)
    2.09:1 Blue:White Ratio
    ~250 Watts

    [​IMG]

    That's all for now. More later.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Click Here!

  3. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Messages:
    19,258
    Location:
    Sparks, NV
    This sounds like an extremely well thought out design and tank. Can't wait to see you start it going.
     
  4. Nismo400rgtr

    Nismo400rgtr Teardrop Maxima Clam

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Buffalo,NY
  5. TheSaltwaterGuy

    TheSaltwaterGuy Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,162
    Location:
    New York
  6. magnetar68

    magnetar68 Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Lighting Update

    I got some feedback on Nano-Reefs on my lighting. I am not sure what the etiquette is on getting feedback from other forums and mentioning it here, but the NR lighting forum has some really, really experienced LED people, and I got some excellent feedback:

    1) Instead of XR-Es, I will probably use XP-E and XP-G, ROyal Blue and Cool White respectively.

    2) I will likely switch to 60 degree optics. I put together the following to get a sense for why the narrow beams will be better on my tank (this pics below are for 80 vs 40 degree, but the feedback is that 60 degree is the right optics for 12" above a 24" deep tank):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    3) Instead of one large heat sink, I will likely use two smaller ones:

    [​IMG]

    I still need to figure out how best to drive these LEDs, so I may change the number of LEDs a bit.
     
  7. BoBo65

    BoBo65 Torch Coral

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,181
    Location:
    Las Vegas,NV
    awesome man I cant wait to really watch this build grow :D I subscribed :)
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. magnetar68

    magnetar68 Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Acrylic Option

    I am looking at two vendors. One for a glass tank and one for an acrylic tank. The glass one will be cheaper, but the acrylic one will have a lot of fine detail. ZeroEdge Aquarium has come out with a new line of tanks called GetAnEdge. Here is a shot of a 90G version:

    [​IMG]

    I have mocked up something similar in Sketchup, but I have asked to customize the standard 120G to an external coast-to-coast toothless overflow. Instead of teeth, I will use the egg crate. It's gray in this picture, but I will use black on the tank (black did not show up well).

    This one shows the BeanAnimal Fail-Safe and Silent version of the Herbie Overflow:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Powerman

    Powerman Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    3,460
    Location:
    Colorado
    So I was going to say a Herbie is essential but you beat me to it.

    Just to clarify... have you read Bean Animals write up on overflows on his webpage? So any way... A herbie is a overflow incorporating what you need for a silent overflow into a reef ready... predrilled... tank. Not that it can't be on other tanks... but a RR tank was what Herbie had and that is the design that came out of it.

    The emergency drain is not there for 5% flow, it is there for emergency flow. the emergency drain is not supposed to be used for regulation. Herbie warned against that. Having said that, it is a common practice with Herbie owners, just not an official one. You need to understand what you are giving up with that in a pure Herbie RR setup.

    However.... you are going full custom. Bean's setup is full custom... incorporating the same principles for silent operation, and adding a third drain for 100% never ever ever gonna happen fail safe operation.

    If it was me.... I would do a custom Herbie or a neutered Bean as you have. Call it what you want. Basically a Bean with out the third drain. You need to size the primary and secondary accordingly. Big as you can... you will only need half of the primary (restricted with valve) and the secondary can more than handle full flow being unrestricted. Just do the math, and what ever your return pump is going to do, sive the drain 150% of that to have plenty of room. And yes the out puts NEED to be submerged.

    The external coast to coast will look awesome. You can get screens or covers for the drain to keep the snails out of the overflow pipes.

    also... for silence you need to think about flow requirements. You need to supply the fuge and skimmer... a chiller will be easy to do without. You need to think about lowering power use and keeping heat out of the system. A good return pump will do that. A Ehiem 1262 should be fine for a 120g. I had to throttle mine back on a 90g. Less power... or if you have money burning a hole in your pocket... look into Red Dragon return pumps or ATB Airstar return pumps. More efficient and as quiet as you will get.

    For skimmers.... the better ones will have such good air draws that that becomes a noise problem. you just need a better silencer without restricting air flow. Next.... most mid range skimmers will give you good performance at good price. The high end skimmers have the best pumps but will cost more. They are quieter, but they are not silent.... and all that is completely subjective. But again, if you want the least noise, then look at ATB, Alpha, or Bubble King. I would not be afraid to buy used on that quality equipment "buyer beware" of course. A ATB 840 or Bubble King Mini 180 would be the best. Yes you can find them used. Yes they are expensive.

    Before you do any of that for a skimmer talk to Jon here from Warner Marine and see what is coming out from him soon. I do not know much about it but I would not make a purchase before I found out. Can't say enough and his prices so far look to be very good.
     
  11. magnetar68

    magnetar68 Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Yes. My assumption is that the only reason his full siphon does not look like the Herbie submerged pipe is the use of the internal overflow. His full siphon drain serves the same purpose.

    Maybe my picture has confused you. I never meant to say that the emergency overflow takes 5%. It's only there in case of a true emergency (i.e., the other two get clogged). I took someone else's Herbie picture and used it to show the working part of the BeanAnimal. If you notice, I have 3 pipes behind the tank: (1) Durso (that will be my ~5% flow), (2) Full Drain (submerged), and (3)the Emergency Drain. What I don't show are the return lines: still need to figure that out.

    For true silent operation you want laminar flow down the durso. This means low flow.

    I have the 3rd drain. All drains are 1.5". The emergency drain will go into the sump somewhere, but not into the input since it's just for an emergency. Only the fully submerged drain and the durso will go into the input.

    I will use egg crate as in the Sketchup mockup above (click on it to make it bigger). It will be just above the water surface, so no noise. I do this today in my sump and it works great.

    Awesome input! Thanks!! Yes, I know the skimmer will likely be the primary noise maker. I was thinking about the Bubble King 180.

    -Ray
     
  12. Powerman

    Powerman Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    3,460
    Location:
    Colorado
    Got it... so you are doing a full Bean. I was confused. I thought you were doing 2 pipes. Cool. I just don't see the need for a 3rd drain... but also don't see the overwhelming need to exclude it. I was just comfortable enough with my Herbie that I would have been comfortable with a hybrid. Bottom line is that it is truly SILENT, and bubble free.

    Don't get hung up on a siphon... I have already beat that dead horse... Herbie just used a stand pipe because he had a full internal overflow to play with in his reef ready tank. Bean wanted a truly "best of" setup and wanted to use a coast to coast. So with such a shallow overflow box as a coast to coast he could not sufficiently submerge a stand pipe without sucking air.... so he has a elbow on the primary and calls it a siphon. A true siphon involves lifting water above a level.... the elbow is just an overflow but draws off the bottom of the box to prevent pulling in air.

    I get your egg crate, but just figured a grate across the pipe could be cleaner but your solution is also a good one..... but what happens if a fish makes it over the edge for some reason.... will he be out of water on top of the egg crate???

    Look at my Herbie thread write up in my Sig. I split my drain to the fuge... only problem was the regulating valve had to be down stream of the fuge valve. You could do the same to split your drain, but it would have to be a similar setup. I know Bean likes his valves at the overflow.... but then you can split your drain to supply your skimmer ans fuge seperate.

    The 180 would be excellent... glad you are thinking along those lines. Personally, a BK is a work of art... but all that money and machining does not equal better performance that the other high end skimmers. Any way... the 180 would be perfect for a 120g. Look at the 840 too.... I would personally take a 840 over a Alhpa anyday. And again, I can't say enough about Warner Marine. My K2 was better than my Mini 160. Look and see what he has coming out.