Friday Funtime Setup Quiz


New member
So…. I’ve been out of the hobby for a couple of years. I broke down my last tank while moving into our new house with the intent of reviving the tank once we had done a substantial home remodel. Five years later we’re just finishing the remodel. Now I am getting the system back up and running. I am incorporating some of the new technology and thinking that has become prevalent since I was last doing this. While pretty well along, I would like to get some opinions from the board. For the sake of entertainment, I will do this in the form of a quiz.

First of all a little basic information about setup: The display tank is 65 gallons (36x18x24) with a single center overflow. The drain is a 1.5” bulkhead and there are two .5” returns through the overflow ending in LocLine. I have a substantial sump (36x15x16) that is roughly 35% refugium, 15% baffled return box and 50% open sump. I feed a Barr Aquatics 1220 skimmer from the sump back to the return box. A calcium reactor and chiller operate on a closed loop through the sump. I am using auto topoff and a Solar 1000 LWM controller because I was (and probably still am) a gadget freak. In terms of lighting, I have a single 250w metal halide and 2x 96w VHOs. All of my equipment will be remote- we are building an “aquarium” room directly behind the tank with water, drain, ventilation, dedicated power, etc. I expect that I will continue to be mostly an SPS guy.

The quiz: I need pumps to drive a couple of distinct activities in the tank. First, the skimmer is great but requires a lot of water flow. Second, I am planning on installing a closed loop on the tank and would like to get ~20 turns/hour out of it. Third, I would like a vigorous return to the tank from the sump (probably top out around 350gph given the overflow constraints and control of microbubbles). The loops to the chiller and Ca reactor should be driven as part of one of the three but I can manage that fairly easily. All pumps will be remote (in the adjacent room) so there will be a little more head pressure than one would normally expect on the return and closed loop. I currently own two pumps, a Little Giant 4MDQX-SC and a Reeflo Dart. I expect that I will need to purchase a third pump and run the three activities I described independently (even if I did not have to, I like the idea of redundancy).

Question 1a) What should the third pump be?

Question 1b) What pump should be matched to what activity (ies)?
e.g. Return â€"œ Little Giant
Skimmer â€"œ New pump
Closed loop â€"œ Dart

Question 2) I also happen to have an Icecap 660 ballast lying around. I have room in my canopy to install some PCs. Should I? If so, wattage/color combination suggestions?

Thanks much in advance for your input, let me know if I can supply you further information. Other thoughts/suggestions welcome. :)