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Drop-Off Tank Build – Episode 5: Return Pump Installation + Which Skimmer Should We Use?

 

Welcome to Episode #5 of our MODE Aquariums drop off tank build.  Last time, we asked all of you which return pump would work best for our tank and the Reef Octopus VarioS came in with a majority vote.

The Reef Octopus VarioS pump is a great choice for this tank.  We chose the VarioS 6 model which has a maximum flow rate of 1720 GPH which is more than enough for our 70 gallon tank and will be strong enough to feed water through a couple of media reactors and any other equipment we decide to add onto the tank down the line such as a calcium reactor, UV sterilizer, or chiller.

The VarioS is a DC pump that is completely controllable.  The advanced controller includes 5 different speed settings to control the flow rate.  It also has two separate hold or feed modes which will stop the flow of water for either 15 minutes or 60 minutes.  The short 15 minute mode can be used when feeding the tank and the longer mode can be used when performing maintenance such as a water change.

 

 

The Reef Octopus controller can also accept a float switch which comes standard with the pump.  The float switch is used to cut power to the pump in the event that the water level gets too low.  This will protect the pump against dry run.  Another cool feature is the 0-10V control port which allows you to connect the pump to third party aquarium controllers like the Neptune Systems Apex.

It comes with a nice little controller mount and couple of screws, so we mounted the controller directly too the back of the door on our tank stand.

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For connecting to the tank, we needed to adapt to ¾ vinyl tubing.  The pump includes a couple of 1.25” true unions and then a hose-barb fitting that accommodates 1” or 1.25” tubing.  Since this is larger than what we are using, we used a PVC bushing that reduced the 1.25” true union down to a ¾” female thread, then threaded in a ¾” hose barb for connection to our ¾” vinyl tubing.

 

 

We cut the vinyl tubing to the appropriate length so that the pump will sit flat on the bottom of our sump and then utilized a hose clamp to secure the tubing in place.

In total, it took us no more than about 10 minutes to get this pump installed onto our tank.

Upon applying power, I knew the pump would be too strong right out of the gate so I immediately adjusted it to the lowest speed.  After observing the flow, I bumped it up to the #2 setting and the tank is running great with minimal drain noise and plenty of flow through the sump.

A protein skimmer is important for removing dissolved organic waste from your aquarium water. We stock a huge variety of great skimmers here at Marine Depot so I wanted to really give you guys some options when voting for the skimmer. I chose 5 of our best-selling brands and then specifically chose the appropriate model for our tank based on the skimmer specifications and similar price range of under $350.

 

 

So which protein skimmer should we use?

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Each of these skimmers have some unique and awesome features. We provided direct links in the video description below so you can check out each of the chosen models on our website.  All of the skimmers are in sump skimmers that are powered with AC water pumps and will fit nicely into our sump.

Personally, I will be happy with any of these options running on our tank here at MD and I am excited to hear from all of you.  So please let us know which skimmer you would like us to install on this new tank by clicking on the pole card in the upper right corner of this video.  Then check back next time to get the results, watch us install the skimmer and then choose some lighting for our tank.

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