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Drop-Off Tank Build – Episode 6: Protein Skimmer Installation + Which Light Fixture Should We Use?

 

Last time we asked all of you which protein skimmer we should use inside of our tank and Reef Octopus has taken the title again with the Reef Octopus 202-S protein skimmer.

Reef Octopus makes a huge variety of protein skimmers that includes an option for just about every type of reef tank and budget.  The 202-S model is one of our favorites because of the large, wine glass shaped body, solid construction and quiet operation. The skimmer uses a gate valve on the outlet which gives you precise control over the water level inside the skimmer body.  The included air silencer helps to muffle the air noise that is caused when air is sucked into the pump via the venturi on the pump.  It has a footprint of 12.5” x 10” and is rated for tanks up to a maximum of 265 gallons!


This skimmer is a bit of an overkill for our 70 gallon system which I noticed some of you mentioned in the comments.  In many cases, tank size recommendations can be deceiving which is why more and more skimmer companies are utilizing the method of recommending a tank size based on the bio-load of the tank.  In our case, I wanted to ensure we had something plenty strong enough to handle a heavy load and would work for a future upgrade or expansion to the system.

We may also experiment with using the skimmer on a timer to help cut down on some noise because the tank is located in an area with heavy foot traffic and not enclosed inside of a tank stand.  We would love to hear about your experiences with running a protein skimmer on a timer and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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We rinsed all of the skimmer components in warm water to wash off any manufacturing residue. Assembly was quite simple with the clearly labeled assembly diagram.Thankfully our sump has a nice large skimmer chamber.  We utilized the adjustable baffle to set the water level inside the skimmer chamber right at 8”.  Upon applying power we set the water level inside the skimmer at a fairly low level in order to avoid any overflows and allow the skimmer some time to properly break in.

 

The tank is starting to finally come together and I know many of you are eager to see some livestock in this tank.  We only have a couple more pieces of equipment to choose and we will be ready for livestock and I want to thank all of you for participating in this fun series.

As promised, lets choose some lighting for this tank.  This drop-off peninsula style tank does pose certain obstacles for lighting.  We want something that will look nice when mounted over the tank yet still give us a strong, even spread of light.  I really had a tough time narrowing now the options so I decided to pick one option from each category, LED, T5 fluorescent and Metal Halide.

So which light fixture should we use over our tank? The Kessil AP700 LED Light, the ATI 6 x 39 watt Sunpower Fixture, Or the Reef Brite HyBrid Metal Halide System?

 

 

In an nutshell, each of these lighting options has some unique benefits.  LED lighting is economical in terms of operating costs with very minimal heat transfer and also offers some really advanced control options.

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T5 lighting really makes the colors inside of your tank pop and shine.  With the right combination of bulbs you can create a visual stunning environment inside your tank.

Metal Halides are powerful and the most natural spectrum of lighting you can put over your tank.  Many folks witness incredible growth rates and love the natural shimmer a metal halide bulb will create in your tank.

I am really excited to see these results so help us out and cast your vote by clicking on the poll card in the upper right corner of this video.  Tune in next time to get the results of our poll and watch us install the lighting over our new aquarium.

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