400 Gal Multi-Tank System


New member
Hi all!

I have been planning to set up a rather large system in the near future (3-4 months), and I am now getting anxious to nail down the overal plan. I just finished the remodel of my basement, and as luck would have it, I have a nice little mud-room right off of the main room. This has been renamed the Tank Room, as I plan to fill it plum full of tanks.

I will start with the display tanks:

I will have two 36g corner bows (one on each side of my entertainment center). They will be pre-drilled for ease of plumbing, and to help eliminate excessive gadgetry on the display tanks. I hate clutter in my displays.

These tanks will be plumbed through the wall, into the Tank Room, where I will have my sumps, skimmer(s), RO System (I have water lines in there too ;-), and several frag tanks. I will explain this part next.

The Tank Room:

In this room, I have enough space for:

Two 55g sumps (stacked on one wall)
+ one will have a smaller tank (5g maybe) mounted on
one end, with deep sand, and a mangrove stand
planted for nutrient export.
+ after filtering through the mangroves (by way of holes
drilled in the bottom/sides of that mangrove tank), the
water will flow through the main chamber in the 1st 55,
where chaeto/caulerpa will further remove nutrients.
+ then, water will be pumped to the upper 55 sump,
where it will flow through an abundance of rubble rock
(cheap and good for fragging rocks)
+ From there, the water (perfectly pristine I hope) will be
pumped to the displays and the frag tanks (up to 6 30g
tanks can be stacked pn the side-walls)

I'm hoping I can focus more on fragging, and fish watching rather than cleaning pumps and filters, etc. Hopefully this will be accomplished by overloading this thing with way more bio-filtration than is typically even possible, so in each of the frag tanks, I will have a healthy sandbed, and some scattered rubble rock, along with a cleanup crew. If necessary, these sandbeds can also keep extra macros, but I would think 55 gallons of the stuff would do a pretty good job.

I'm curious if anyone has tried a similar setup, and if so were there any noteable problems encountered. Also, with so much bio-filteration going on here, I am thinking I may not need such a big skimmer (or none at all with weekly water changes), but I would like some opinions on that as well. I doubt I will go with none at all, but I may go with a 100-200g skimmer, rather than a full 400g.

Lighting isn't too much an issue, as I have a ton of fixtures sitting around waiting to be converted to VHO's. With realatively shallow frag tanks (12" deep, but frags mounted at 4-6"), I think I'll do alright with VHO in the frag tanks, and I'll save the MH's for my displays.

BTW - I have my eye on the Outer Orbit MH/Power Compact combo fixture for my display. I'll either use the 24" (280 Watt) or the 36" (342 Watt) fixtures, depending on what will fit the tank best.