Planning for a future set-up

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by SeaCreature, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. SeaCreature

    SeaCreature Cuttlefish Registered

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    I'm sorry if these are incredibly simple questions that have been answered elsewhere but this seems the simplest way to go about getting my answers. Gotta learn somewhere!
    I'm planning my budget for my tank I should be setting up in a couple years... I know keeping octos isn't cheap, having some savings to fall back on might mean both s/he and I get to eat :lol: So just a couple of noob questions that I'm sure can be answered in no time.

    First of all, the price jump between a 52 gallon tank and a 68 gallon tank is a lot (Roughly 250GBP... That's why the tank volume may sound strange, I'm converting from metric.) Am I safe to go with a 52 gallon or would it be wiser to go with 68? It doesn't seem like a stupidly small size, I was considering keeping a dwarf merc or two, or one hummelincki (sp?)

    I also understand the concept of a sump but I'm not sure exactly what goes in there- How big should it be, and what are the must haves? It seems like the best option but the thought of putting one together is incredibly daunting, I think I'll be wheedling for help on this one with someone? And what exactly does octoproofing entail, is it hard to do?

    Finally, would a 17l (About 5 gallons) suit a few fiddler crabs as a live food tank? I was thinking a mostly dry tank with a dish of water buried in the sand like I've seen people do here... or is that ridiculously too small?

    :oops: It's embarrasing to be asking such basic questions but it may just give me the happiest octo in the world :)
     
  2. SeaCreature

    SeaCreature Cuttlefish Registered

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    Maybe someone has the time to just shoot off answers to these questions but if I'm just missing a really obvious resource or someone knows of them, please feel free to link me too :)
     
  3. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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  4. SeaCreature

    SeaCreature Cuttlefish Registered

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply! I have a feeling one article is going to lead to another, I'm going to brew up some coffee first... And I never considered myself an obsessive person before :lol:
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Our Sources for Cephalopods and Food Forum is a good place to look for live food care. This particular thread has a lot of information that should be useful.

    There are lots of write-ups about sumps and refugiums and combining them and the discussions obviscate the simplicity of the initial setup. If you first get the concept of how a plain sump is set up then you can think about other options. In a nut shell, a sump is a separate tank that sits below the main tank. It accepts gravity fed water from the main tank, contains a pump to return the filtered water and all filtering media, hardware you will use for the system, provides more surface area and adds a larger volume of water to the setup.

    The main tank will have a gravity fed tube that leads to the sump. Attaching the tube is best done by drilling a hole in the main tank and attaching what is called a bulkhead (an inexpensive watertight fitting that allows you to connect the tube). A marine ready tank usually has a water tight box around the hole and bulk head and is most commonly drilled (has the hole) at the bottom of the tank (requiring the stand to also have a hole in the proper location). The water must be above the top of the box to flow into the hole so the tank will only drain to the height of the box (usually the top is slotted to encourage particles to exit the tank). A freshwater tank will not have this set up and you will either need to drill or have drilled a hole (if there is not "box" then drilling on the side rather than the bottom is required to keep from allowing the entire tank to drain) at the desired water height.

    Alternately, a siphon box arrangement is commonly used but these are unreliable and a royal pain so the strong recommendation is to either drill or have drilled a whole and attach a bulkhead (simple screw together coupling). The box sits on the back or side of the tank and contains the bulkhead and tubing to go to the sump. It sucks the water from the tank via a siphon rather than gravity but then gravity feeds the sump.

    The pump in the sump returns water to the tank (usually through a second hole and bulkhead placed higher than the first). The exit hole must allow enough flow to exceed the return capacity (not just meet).

    All filtration is done in the sump. With a bulkhead arrangement, only a few cords for power heads need disrupt the octo secure lid. And consideration needs to be give to the drain side to prevent escape. With a siphon box there are slightly more considerations. With no sump, maintenance and octoproofing are more of a challenge. I put a filter sock with a carbon bag where the tube enters (usualy flexible tubing) the sump (I use a simple homemade PVC pipe hook to secure the sock).

    Skimmers are highly recommended and are easily added to a well positioned sump. Not only does the sump free you from having to MacGyver a secure lid around the skimmer but most micro bubbles will remain in the sump and don't disrupt the main tank.

    Take a look at some of the arrangements in the Tank Talk forum for some ideas on how people have secured their tops and arranged their filtration.
     
  6. SeaCreature

    SeaCreature Cuttlefish Registered

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    Thanks for the reply D, it does help seeing things out in black and white although I've been browsing articles in general through the evening.
    I'm incredibly headstrong in wanting to choose exactly what goes into my setup with the right advice rather than being too passive but the actual idea of just drilling here and attatching there fills me with fear, I wouldn't want to fail an octo with my shoddy workmanship! I settled somewhere in the middle yesterday and called some family businesses in the area that custom build aquariums with theoreticals as I don't have the budget yet, to be honest they seemed quite happy to have a demanding customer! One of them in particular has kept cuttlefish before and had a few reccomendations, hopefully they'll be available to bring it all together when the time comes.
     
  7. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Since your are in the planning stages, and your budget is part of your planning, I'd like to point out that this might be a fantastic time to buy a used tank. Is the financial recession hitting London as hard as it is hitting the US? I've noticed that many people are responding to the troubling economic times by shutting down their aquariums and selling them. At the same time, many buyers are reluctant to buy them, so availability is high and prices are low for used equipment. many systems already have a sump, and are drilled and have proven plumbing, so once you decide what you want, look for a similar used system.

    The big danger of a used system is copper. You can read more about that on other Tonmo threads, but quickly:
    1) Many fresh water fish medications contain copper
    2) Silicone (and maybe acrylic?) can absorb small amounts of this copper once exposed, so washing a used tank won't get rid of the copper if such medications have been used.
    3) Copper is extremely toxic to mollusks (like octopus).

    Most used fresh water aquariums have probably been exposed to copper medication, and some fish only marine systems may have been exposed. Marine Reef systems are unlikely to have been exposed. You need to ask the owner of a used tank about any medications they may have used, and don't buy unless you are fairly certain that copper medication has never been used.

    I recommend that you do your homework, and then go out and negotiate a super deal on a used tank. why wait two years?
     

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