Two Tanks - One skimmer and sump

whowadat

New member
Hello, I have a 125g tank with an almost new Lifereef VS3 60" skimmer which is rated for 700 gallons. This setup also has a Lifereef custom made sump with a separate reefugium, its very similar to the LF1 300 which has 300 gallon rating - I believe the sump has a 30 gallon capacity. Throw in their largest fuge which I think has another 16 gallon capacity.

I want to run two 125 gallon tanks off this single setup, I assume its possible but is it wise ? Any thoughts about plumbing issues that may be a concern or positives for doing such a thing - economics and space considerations are my reasons for wanting to do so ?

Thank you in advance for any feedback.


By the way, one tank would be a reef setup with minimal fish load while the other would be a FOWLR sporting a few aggressive types.
 

turretdr

I want to play a game
I know others that do this very thing. That way you get the best of both worlds and only half the maintenance.
 

Michael

NTTH Rookie Help
Premium Member
well with 2 125 gallon tanks a 30 gallon sump and a 16 gallon fudge im not suprised you have run out of space.

personally i wouldnt do it, to much plumbing between imo and id prefer to treat each tank as a seperate system, of course it can be achieved, i believe its happened before and well anything with planning is possible, why the 2 tanks? as a newbie i think your jumping in a bit with both feet, perhaps it would be better to concentrate on just 1 tank, whatever you decide to do i wish you the best of luck


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Can you give the dimensions of the sump?

It's possible, though you have to understand the implications (you won't be able to treat the FOWLR tank with non-reef-safe meds, for instance - and you'll have to maintain twice as much water at the quality the reef tank demands, etc.)

The only potential hangup I can imagine is if the sump is on the smallish side. If you want to put enough flow through it for both tanks, you might be near it's limit.
 

IslandCrow

Reef Monkey
Premium Member
I've run a 46g and a 30g off a 20g common sump, and I'd say the sump was just barely big enough. Now, this goes to your "is it wise" question, but in order to make the system flood resistant (I hesitate to use the word "proof"), the sump has to be able to handle the overflow from both tanks if the return pump should fail. In my case, if I lost power, my sump filled up right to the lip.

If you're sump's big enough to handle a power loss and designed correctly so it can also handle loss of siphon from your overflows, there are definitely benefits. It increases the overall system volume, which will at least theoretically increase stability, and of course, you save some space and money. The obvious downside is the added complexity. I have a feeling that sump is going to be too small to support both tanks, though.
 

pclausen

New member
I'm running a 180g reef and a 150g FOWLR off a single sump in the basement (both tanks are in the living room upstairs). The 180g features 2" piping back to the sump, everything else is 1.5" piping (return to 180g and drain/return to the 150g). My return pump is a Hammerhead and I got *plenty* of flow in both tanks. I got a 150g rubbermaid sump and an ASM G6 skimmer.
 

whowadat

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14815639#post14815639 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Michael
well with 2 125 gallon tanks a 30 gallon sump and a 16 gallon fudge im not suprised you have run out of space.

personally i wouldnt do it, to much plumbing between imo and id prefer to treat each tank as a seperate system, of course it can be achieved, i believe its happened before and well anything with planning is possible, why the 2 tanks? as a newbie i think your jumping in a bit with both feet, perhaps it would be better to concentrate on just 1 tank, whatever you decide to do i wish you the best of luck


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Thx for the input, as a newbie I plan on leaning on some more experienced friends. I guess the more water the more stable so as a noob its probably easier to take car of a 180g than a 20 gallon. I've been counseled that a 24" wide tank would make a better reef, the one I got is 72" by 18" and it came with a big ol' skimmer and this high end custom sump.

I like the idea of a fowlr with some larger fish which might not get along with corals, and I would like to have a reef full of color, I have to decide whether to sell the big skimmer or not as it obviously won't fit under the tank. The sump/fuge takes up the entire underneath of the stand so it may have to be sold also if I want a smaller skimmer (or a different brand name) that might not fit in the sump. Of course I could just sell off the refugium which would then open up some space and options.

In today's economy there are a bunch of great buys out there, whether I get a tank up and running immediately or they gather some dust while I slowly plod along, I might add being a pita to everyone I encounter as I pick their brain for information, I want to take advantage of the situation and get the most bang for my buck. As far as biting off more than I can chew, it might be a character flaw since I have never been one to take things in moderation. Although I guess that's why I ended up starting two businesses......(talk about some high maintenance with severe growing pains) :)
 

whowadat

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14816077#post14816077 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by pclausen
I'm running a 180g reef and a 150g FOWLR off a single sump in the basement (both tanks are in the living room upstairs). The 180g features 2" piping back to the sump, everything else is 1.5" piping (return to 180g and drain/return to the 150g). My return pump is a Hammerhead and I got *plenty* of flow in both tanks. I got a 150g rubbermaid sump and an ASM G6 skimmer.


Awesome! Any way you could do me some sort of diagram with some examples of your pump(s) and their capacities, it would really help me get my head around the plumbing to make a two tank/one sump/one skimmer system work. Chickenscratch would be fine..... :)
 

Michael

NTTH Rookie Help
Premium Member
fair enough, i wasnt critising as your aware, just wondering if starting off with 1 tank would be better, but if your up to the task then go for it, good luck to you, hope it works out
 

whowadat

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14815707#post14815707 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by der_wille_zur_macht
Can you give the dimensions of the sump?

It's possible, though you have to understand the implications (you won't be able to treat the FOWLR tank with non-reef-safe meds, for instance - and you'll have to maintain twice as much water at the quality the reef tank demands, etc.)

The only potential hangup I can imagine is if the sump is on the smallish side. If you want to put enough flow through it for both tanks, you might be near it's limit.


Hello, thanks for your input! The dimensions of the sump are roughly 40" long, 14" wide, by 16" tall. The refugium is another 24" tall by roughly the same width and heighth - I got the capacity numbers from off the Lifereef website so I imagine they're within a couple of gallons. (this is a custom built sump)

Funny you should mention meds, I'm hearing all kinds of opinions on a quarantine and/or hospital tank which is probably better suited for another thread. (there's a bunch of good information on RC already) I am aware that copper and corals don't mix, so yes I think this is a big "con" to running both setups off a single sump/fuge/skimmer. But then again I'm under the assumption that a person might not treat the entire fowlr tank if a med issue arose - seems like it would be wise to do so though.

By "maintain twice as much water at the quality of the reef tank demands" are you talking about ready made RO/DI for water changes, auto top off and the like ? Or are you noting that it will be more work to maintain at a higher level than you might be able to get away with on a fowlr - I guess both are applicable. :)
 

whowadat

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14816174#post14816174 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Michael
fair enough, i wasnt critising as your aware, just wondering if starting off with 1 tank would be better, but if your up to the task then go for it, good luck to you, hope it works out


Thanks Michael, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Probably my biggest concern for taking care of two tanks (besides my lack of experience) is my time management skills - having had a multiple of freshwater tanks at one time I know this isn't all fun and games, its alot of work!

I'm hoping that if I can get into a routine that I'll have more fun and games and less "work", afterall alot of us newbies cash in our chips because it can become all work and no play. I'm not in a rush so I think thats definitely a positive in my favor......and I'm gonna get in the back pocket of some highly experienced local reefers and ask alot of questions.
 
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