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Drop-Off Tank Build – Episode 4: Heater Installation + Which Pump Should We Use?

 

In our last episode, we asked you guys to choose your favorite heater and the Eheim Jager heater won the vote and is being used on our aquarium.

 

 

The Eheim Jager heaters have been around for quite some time and are an excellent, reliable heater that is available for a great price.  The heater features an easy-to-set temperature dial along with a calibration dial that allows you to fine tune the heater to accommodate for small variances in temperature readings.

We chose the 200 watt model and placed it down inside the heater holder at the bottom of our MD sump.  We set the temperature to 76 degrees then let the heater acclimate for about 30 minutes before applying power.

 

 

After 24 hours I used the American Marine calibration thermometer to check the tank temperature to ensure the heater was working properly.  The thermometer ready 73 degrees which means the heater was about 3 degrees off.

Since the Jager heater has the fancy calibration feature I adjusted the little red dial on the Jager heater so that the temperature arrow is pointing at 73 degrees. The heater has now been calibrated to accurately read the water temperature in the aquarium.  Next, I simply ramped up the set temperature to 76 degrees.

After another 24 hours I spot checked the tank temperature using the American Marine Thermometer which read a perfect 76 degrees.

The entire tank is coming along nicely and has been cycling for about 3 weeks now.  I added 15ml of  Microbacter 7 per day for the first 14 days.  I also added a little bit of pellet food into the tank during this time in order to add the protein that is needed for bacteria to break down and get the cycle process going.

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We started testing the water daily on day #15 in order to get an idea of what was going on in the tank.  This little graph will give you an idea of what the daily tests look like.

 

 

When cycling a tank it is important to give the tank ample time to completely cycle.  This graph gives you a good idea of the typical timeline it takes to properly cycle a new saltwater aquarium and when I lay over our test results in looks as though we are right on track.

We are running the stock return pump that comes with the tank and it has honestly been working great and runs really quiet.  The maximum flow rate of this pump is only 660 GPH and we definitely want to install something a bit more powerful in order to allow us to feed other equipment and achieve an optimum flow rate through the tank.

Of course, we want to get input from all of you so here is our next poll.  Which return pump should we use?  The Current USA eFlux, AquaMedic DC Runner, or the Reef Octopus Vario S.

 

 

All of these pumps are DC pumps which means they are powered with safe, low voltage DC or direct current electricity.  These DC pumps have come a long way in recent years and are quickly becoming the pump of choice for a few reasons.  They are quiet pumps that offer excellent flow rates for the amount of electricity they consume and best of all they have some amazing electronic control options and I am not talking simple flow control.  Some of these advanced DC pumps can create random flow patterns, make waves, include feed and night modes and some can even be connected to aquarium controllers like the Neptune Systems Apex.

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So let us know which pump you would like to see on our 70 gallon drop off tank by clicking on the poll card in the upper right corner of this video.  Then check back next time to see us install the pump of choice and then move onto the protein skimmer!

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