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I am going to use a 30 gal. Tank and put a 100gal hob skimmer in the first portion along with some live sand, rock pieces and some form of macro in the second portion. (A couple members here have already offered some macro for free!). I want to set a baffle between first and second portions and have the sump above the tank so the return is gravity fed. This is going to be in my science classroom so I want them to see the entire system. I also want any Copepods or amphipods to have the ability to get to main tank without going through a pump impeller.

Does this sound like a successful scenario?

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The display fuge would be awesome, and definitely better having it above for the reason you stated. I think the 3rd tank is a good idea because the HOB skimmer is going to take up a good chunk of that 30 and not leave tons of room for the fuge, or be as cool to look at.

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Without a drawing tool:

I think I'll plumb a line to gravity feed a small tank with the skimmer.

Pump that up to a refugium (30 gal. tank). Then put a slotted baffle in the end and drill and plumb a return line into refugium tank.

What temp do you guys keep your reef? With almost doubling my water,I think I may need a new heater. I can't remember the watts on mine off the top of my head... But it is turned all the way down and temps are usually around 78, thermostat is stuck

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Sorry for the delay, My wife and I are experiencing some complications with our expected additions (TWINS!) to our family and have been quite busy.  I have attached an image of a sketch I made.  This is the end product I'm going strive for although this project is somewhat sidelined right now.  I have the tanks, PVC, bulkheads, and access to glass and Plexiglass for construction.  I do not have a Skimmer or pump though.  I was approved to purchase an RO/DI system for my classroom to produce pure water for experiments and the aquarium though!

post-346-0-37352500-1429209331_thumb.jpg

Edited by teacherreefer

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Seems like you're either going to have a ton of flow through the fuge or a hard time keeping the display heated (assuming the heaters are in the sump) with this design.  May want to consider splitting off the return and diverting the majority of the flow directly to the display.

Edited by Dr.Fraggenstien

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I agree with above. If space allows I would run the pump directly back to your display and then drain from the display to your fuge and from the fuge back to the sump. This will still have a lot of flow through the fuge so IMO even better would be to drain back to the sump but have a tee and valve that allows partial drain to go to fuge and rest to sump. Hope that made sense.

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I also agree on the low fuge flow. It looks like you are attempting to keep the fuge above the display still, which will give you the maximum benefit because it will drain into the display instead of chopping all the good stuff into bits with a pump. As stated above, just divert some of the flow directly to the display.

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Now the wheels are spinning...

I'm wondering if I should use a 30 gallon tank and just use a piece of plexiglass/acrylic to divide isolate a portion for the macro algae and have the other portions (a skimmer section and a live rock live sand section) handle the bulk of the flow... I will diagram and post for suggestion or opinions. Btw, my seniors are really pushing me to see this through before they graduate, I love hearing their enthusiasm!

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